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    Why Did the Equal Rights Amendment Fail?

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    In the history of the United States of America there has always been controversy in gender inequality and racial discrimination whether it’s segregation in schools, and the many walls that the typical “American family” stereotype has created towards women as a way to teach them where they “belong”. As time passes by, the world begins to notice what is right and wrong, so groups of people begin to demand equality and equal protection to everyone in The United States.

    Although all movements have small beginnings, the women’s suffrage movement (voting rights) wasn’t the objection it was written by Renee Feinberg, but the movement and the amendment began to grow and to gain recognition by the people thanks to Alice Paul, and Crystal Eastman who were well known as leaders in the fight for Women’s Suffrage who tried to prove to the states and the government that women were as capable as men in other areas outside the kitchen and housewife duties.

    However, an Amendment that could’ve give many women protections and opportunities in a world full of men was called ERA that happened to fail in June 30, 1982. It shocked many women and their supporters around the country, and people questioned themselves “ What went wrong?, “Why didn’t all of the required 38 states approved the Equal Rights Amendment?.”

    First, in 1848 marked the beginning of the Women’s Rights Movement during a convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The Seneca Convention wasn’t the first to bring up the issues of women in society,in fact, there were other public conventions that talked about Women’s rights, but what makes this convention special is the fact that both women and men gather together thanks to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott who agreed that they needed to discuss the role of women in our society.

    Most of the people who were engaged in the convention agree that women deserved their own political identity in society. In fact, during the convention they all made an speech which says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And with the the speech the Declaration of Sentiments was created and in the same it was signed by both men and women who attended the convention.

    Then, after two years during 1850, the movement began to get recognition throughout the states, but it all went down in April 12, 1861 when the Civil War started, and during a period of 4 years the Women’s right movement lost strength as if it was forgotten, and so most of the members were starting to back out. But then, when the 14th and 15th amendment were introduced the members from Women’s Suffrage group had hopes that the 14th amendment would give them recognition by finally giving them the place they deserved.

    But then, they disliked its definition since it states that the 14th amendment extends the Constitution’s protection to all citizens, but “citizens” is in the 14th Amendment defines all men as well as including men of color excluding women out of these protections and angered many women because of the fact “citizens” in the 14th amendment does not represent them leaving protections and equal treatment out of their reach meaning that they are seen as a men’s property to only follow their orders, as well as fulfilling the sexual necessities of a men.

    Later on, the 15th amendment is introduced and creates controversy amongst the Women’s Suffrage Organization since the amendment is giving black people the right to vote, and again women are left out of this issue even after they pursued the right to vote before the colored man. It created controversy amongst the organizations that were in favor of women’s right to vote, and so some of these organizations paired up with racist southerners groups who attacked the 15th Amendment with the white women vote to neutralize the vote of African-Americans.

    In addition to these events, regarding the 14th and 15th amendment made drastic changes in the way that Women’s Suffrage Movement tried to archive their goals, and one of these new tactics was the creation of the National Woman’s Party on June 6, 1916, by Alice Paul, and Lucy Burns to fight for women’s suffrage. One of the main goals of this organization was to secure a better quality of life for women to be able to live in a world full of opportunities, and equality. One of the ways that NWP tried to achieve this goal was to pass the 19th Amendment which the main goal was to grant women the right to vote.

    Many women went to parades in which they were able to gain important public support and they stood in front of the White House with signs demanding the President that they should be heard, and they remained strong in front of the White house, but in some cases they were arrested and treated as any other delinquent in prison while they claimed to be political prisoners,but this never stopped them the movement remained strong with the mentality of going to every state,and show to the people that the 19th amendment should be ratified.

    Then after all of their efforts, one person who was against NWP was President Wilson, but then he decided to change his stance towards woman suffrage, and supported it as the movement gained power the 19th Amendment was moved to states for ratification in 1919, then adopted by the states in August 26, 1920 when the major of Tennessee decided to approved it thanks to his mother who told him to do the right thing for her and the many women around the country.

    Lastly, after passage of the 19th amendment in 1923, the movement came up with the idea of Equal Rights Amendment better known as ERA, which would guarantee women and citizens equal legal rights regarding to their sex, so they can end discrimination between men and women in cases of divorce, employment, or shares of property, but this proposition is ignored for at least four decades until it’s revived by the new feminist group and manages to introduced the new revived ERA to congress in 1960, then with the help of U.S Representative Bella Abzug of New York, and two feminist Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem who took an important role to convince the House of Representatives to be able to approved it by the two-thirds vote of the Senate and it’s passed to the states for ratification.

    Unfortunately, the ERA didn’t pass ratification throughout the 50 states and the required ⅓ of the states leaving only 37 states that ratified ERA and one who didn’t, and the reason why it didn’t is because during mid-1970 there was a backflash of conservatives led by Phyllis Schlafly who revolt a group of conservative women who were against this amendment with the excuses that ERA would not provided woman any more rights than they had been given by the constitution, as well as it would require women to register to draft to protect and serve this country just like men do, as well as it would bring out the issues of co-ed bathrooms who had some women worried since they would have the risk of being assaulted by men, but also some of the women who were against ERA was because it would take away previous legislations that were ensuring women safety in heavy labors, and the repeal of support laws for women.

    In conclusion, ERA was not ratified due to the fact that they were betrayed by a group of woman who remained conservative and believed that the “little of protections” they had in this country could’ve been taken away with the ratification of ERA, and so all the struggle that many women like Alice Paul, Renee Feingber, Elizabeth Candi Staton, and many others went through becomes nothing just by the people including women who were scared enough to go for a change that could’ve bring new points of view of equality for both men and women, yet they decided to keep these “traditions” that were imposed by conservative parties to keep women in certain limits that would keep them away from moving on and live a life without the need of a men,and the unfair discrimination in the workplace.

    And so this leads us to the conclusion that as time passes this country will not change and that those one in power will not do the things because it won’t be favorable for them as they might lose power and influence in the society they want us to believe is the “right one” for us to live in, and because they know that in our current society we don’t fight for what we think is right and make our voice be heard, but if we take past events as examples and we decide to fight to let our voice be heard again, then they won’t have other choice but to hear us and do the right thing to change society since we have the power to change and claim what we think is right for us .

    Work Сited

    1. “Fighting for the Vote- Women’s Suffrage in America Part 1,” Youtube uploaded by nyhisprof, 19 May 2016, (“ Fighting” Part 1 1:54-2:25, 7:43-8-16, 10:38-13:42, 17:14-18:48)
    2. “Fighting for the Vote- Women’s Suffrage in America Part 2,” Youtube uploaded by nyhisprof, 19 May 2016, ( “Fighting” Part 2 0:57-1:48, 4:02-4:31, 6:06-7:22)
    3. Baker, Debra. “The Fight Ain’t Over.” ABA Journal, vol. 85, 08, 1990, pp. 52-56. ProQuest,
    4. “Women’s Rights Movement.”National Park Service, 26 February 2015,
    5. “The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848-1920.” History, Arts, United States House of Representatives, . Accessed 6 November 2018.

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