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FEMINIST MOVEMENT: Should the Equal Rights Amendment Be Added to the Constitution?
The core tenet of the mainstream feminist movement is that women and men should be treated equally under the law, and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution embodied that tenet. The campaign to ratify the ERA in the 1970s became the central battleground for feminists and their opponents. ERA supporters, including Representatives Shirley Chisholm of New York and Barbara Jordan of Texas, argued that, as the biological differences between men and women are extremely small, laws should treat women and men as individuals with varying abilities, not as indistinguishable members of a particular gender group. The ERA’s opponents, including conservative leader Phyllis Schafly, believed the amendment and the feminist movement were threats to traditional American society, that a woman’s place is in the home, and that ratification of the ERA would empower the federal government to enact radical policies that would completely blur the line between genders.
Let your students get the facts and decide for themselves: Should the Equal Rights Amendment be added to the Constitution? Be sure to check out Issues & Controversies in American History’s clear and unbiased examination of the feminist movement and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment this month.
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