A Women’s History Month Spotlight from Issues & Controversies in History:
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT: Should the U.S. Constitution Be Amended to Ban Discrimination Based on Sex?
Should the Equal Rights Amendment be added to the U.S. Constitution? Be sure to check out Issues & Controversies in History’s complete and unbiased coverage of this issue. Learn more about the issue and check out a sample of the pro/con arguments on both sides below.
By the early 1970s, a majority of the American public supported equal rights for women. Sexual discrimination seemed increasingly unacceptable and out of place in hiring and promotion, wages and benefits, school admissions, and family law. Yet Congress had rejected proposals for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution every year since 1923. Had the time come to pass a federal ERA?
Arguments in Favor of the Equal Rights Amendment:
Arguments Against the Equal Rights Amendment:
Advocates of the Equal Rights Amendment believed that women and men should have complete equality under the law. Being male or female should never be a factor in determining a person’s rights, and sexual discrimination should be illegal. Sexist policies harm both women and men, such as by justifying lower wages for women and considering men ineligible for custody of their children. Because some state laws differentiated between the sexes under certain circumstances, they regarded an amendment to the U.S. Constitution as necessary to achieve full equality.
Many opponents of the ERA rejected feminist principles, insisting instead that men and women had different roles, ordained by God or nature. They feared the effects of sexual equality on family and gender relations. Some labor advocates wished to preserve hard-won legal protections for women workers. Business interests argued that the ERA would raise costs by requiring them to pay female employees higher wages. Others feared that it would force women into the workforce, make them liable to be drafted into the military, and require unisex public bathrooms. Still others deemed the ERA an incursion into states’ rights.
Issues & Controversies in History links this pro/con article to rich related resources that enhance the debate. Students and researchers can delve into primary sources that provide context, a topic-specific timeline, a bibliography, and a thought-provoking “What if…” section that explores what might have happened had people made different choices. Plus, discussion questions are provided to inspire critical thinking and analysis.
What Is Issues & Controversies in History?
Issues & Controversies in History places students at the center of the great debates and conflicts in U.S. and world history, exploring the issues as the key players saw them or, in some cases, as historians have interpreted them. This comprehensive reference database delivers dynamic, concise, and balanced coverage of a broad range of topics, from slavery, empire, and revolution to race, gender, economy, and disease, all over the globe. By building a deeper understanding of how historical events and conflicts have influenced U.S. and world history over the past 5,000 years, Issues & Controversies in History is a powerful tool for helping researchers analyze primary sources, answer document-based questions, and prepare for history debates and research projects.
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