Transcript for Movement to enact Equal Rights Amendment renewed
It's no secret that women in this country have been bearing the brunt of this pandemic millions are on the front lines at home weathering the storm of close schools lost jobs and growing hunger inside their families. The crisis is now adding fresh urgency to a near century old movement to shore protections for women in the US constitution. So after a long fight will be equal rights amendment ever become part of the law the land. Here's ABC's Devin Dwyer. Nearly fifty years after congress passed it equal rights amendment. Yeah. There's still no mention of women in the US constitution. It is launching is trying to impress the men inside this building and yes I do I have some. About it now at that time. For decades the ERA has been stuck in a political purgatory just three states short of the 38 gratification is needed to make it official. Deadlines have come and gone women have kept marching. The language of the amendment is straightforward but far reaching. Steve that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or bridge by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Advocates say those words are primed to finally become law at a critical time you know Rihanna fiftieth leader writing the seen battle over again. I want to stop that professor deeper Kumar says despite years of progress gender discrimination is still very real. I was stuck at a lucrative mega salary and at the problem though is that I'm gonna salary level did not keep up. She was hired in 2000 four's a professor at Rutgers University the same school where in 1969. A young law professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Won a settlement over unequal pay for female faculty. Kumar and four other women professors sued the school again last year. I mean I've felt like I'm being treated like a second class citizen it was hurtful. It was humiliating. If I could be treated this way what about people who don't have jobs. You're rockers would not comment on Khou first case but tells ABC news it's created a new pay equity program. It is committed to resolving outstanding pay equity requests as quickly and responsibly as possible. On average women in the US earned just 82 cents for every dollar earned by men the gap even wider for women of color. Experts say the pandemic is threatening to make that he inequality. Even worse. You look at what's happening as women across the the work horse in this country right now because of culminated women's am you know an inequality has exacerbated each you know you look at the job loss wouldn't and I mean it is you know it is palpable feeling. More than 2.3 million women have left the workforce since the pandemic began including another 275000. Just last month. January marked the lowest labor force participation rate for women in more than thirty years. I was actually in the middle of feeding my daughter when this bill cannot. California assemblywoman Buffy wicks became a symbol of the crisis last fall when she was forced to take her infant daughter did the Statehouse floor in order do. Do her job what. She urged here is winning the workhorse of the pandemic. And their male counterparts are moving up in a letter it works and they're moving down and then there have to reenter the workforce. A minority that our. Equity will increase again Albert what do you think the fix is deeply in shrine ERA of the Shan. Guarantees. Equity inequalities are short woman cross country. Advocates argue the amendment would give a constitutional. Basis for women to fight back against pain equality. It's very important you know to actually have a law that allows women to challenge the injustice and the discrimination that they're facing. So that you know it's equal pay for equal work for all. It's not just wage gap the fact that in thirty of the -- statements are not exempt from sales tax because they're not even this city's. The so called Campo on taxes been banned by nearly a dozen other countries but its persistence in the US is still surprising to many. I have to tell you and I have no idea why states. Would taxis as luxury items I suspect it's because men were making the laws gas when. Those tax were passed this year sane if you doubt gender inequality exists look no further than the cap on tax. Most people when they hear that forces almost anyone should know I never thought about that but that. I think that. Congress voted in 1972. With overwhelming bipartisan majorities to approve the ERA. 35 states quickly voted to ratify the amended. But it wasn't until last year that Virginia became the final state required of a three fourths majority to make it official. That was just one problem. Congress in its infinite wisdom decided to put a deadline on passing it. Very paternalistic. That deadline was in 1982. The ERA feeling to hit the mark after conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly let a movement of women in opposition. I think some women like to claim six. Failures sensitivity that you try hard. Her crusade immortalized in the FX series and this is America. Schlafly warning the ERA would up end American society. Leading to women drafted into the military an end to restrictions on abortion. And the elimination of gender designations for bathrooms. What I am against this is smaller releases group of northeastern establishment liberals. Putting Dow and a homemaker. We have in front double. That can only are. Huge and really declaring. You cannot discriminate based on. That this amendment says we've been working on or a hundred years. With Democrats in control of Washington and a record number of women in congress the movement sees a new opening. Congresswoman Jackie speer of California the more than 200 lawmakers from both parties have sponsored a bill to remove the deadline for a year ray ratification. And allow it to become law. We do you have momentum. In a way that's we haven't had probably come for decades. But there is no deadline. On equality. And it's about time we recognize that. The Biden administration's is enacting the ERA is a centerpiece of its agenda for women but major legal hurdle still remained. A US Justice Department analysis last year concluded that congress may not revive a proposed amendment after the deadline has expired. Even justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg conceded before her death that the process would need to start over. BE RE. Free speech. I'm ratification. I hope someday the people he put that. And the political hopper. Starting over again. Many ERA advocates argue that legal analysis is flawed. There are many constitutional scholars that argue that it's unconstitutional. To put a deadline in a constitutional amendment this comes the numerous amendment. Oh her husband discrimination. It's around cake. It's around pregnancy. And it's around violence against women. So those are the areas that will be impact it. Is your sense. Of who the legal challenges. Women have been bringing will continue to burn those cases be easier. In effect if this was in the constitution absolutely. Apps is no question about it. A push to root out discrimination backed by the power of the constitution. Do you think this is in the moment it's gonna happen. I think it's at the moment it's gonna happen it's millions of American women see that time has come to get it done. For ABC news live I'm Devin Dwyer in Washington no deadline on inequality are things to DeVon from that.
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