Politics is remarkably robust, causing crucial amendments to lack adoption by the legislature. Women, on the other hand, also fought tirelessly to be accepted as equals with the male gender. Such forceful action begs the question, “What is equality?” What, moreover, makes equality rights such a contentious issue? Furthermore, does politics obstruct women’s attempts to use the law to achieve equal justice with men? Notably, even after a long war, women still do not have the same rights as men in the United States constitution. However, everyone in a democracy needs to be treated the same without favoritism. Hence, the research paper is going to explain the political significance of the equal rights amendments.
The first proposition on the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States was made in the 20th Century in 1923. The bill was made to the US constitution with an urge to guarantee equal rights of women and outlaw any sexual discrimination. All the years, since its proposition, the amendment faced high political and legal temperatures. In the year1970, an intensive series of protests by women demanding their rights led to the intervention of the bill in 1972 by both houses of the Congress of United States to oversee the matter. As required by the constitution, three-quarters of the states in the US had to ratify the amendment for it to be considered as a law. All states had to approve the bill by 1979 after which it would expire. However, some 15 states never adopted the amendment, and hence the proposition failed (Kretschmer et al., 71).
If the Equal Rights Amendment was put into action, by being approved as a law, it would provide clear judicial standards for dealing with cases involving sexual discrimination. As such, there would be reduced discrepancies on how to rule overs cases concerning discrimination based on sex. The amendment on equal rights receives political significance through two approaches. The first approach is a defensive of the status quo while the other strategy is based on moral reform. The defensive struggle on the amendment is as a result of the definition of the role of women in the society. The approach to ethical reforms about the reform is rooted in social change from cultural traditionalist to cultural modernist. The transformation in society tends to create improvements in morals by gaining control of the issue of equality (McBride et al., 212). Conflicting ideas on the equal rights amendment has gone far beyond personal perception to broader levels of people concerned with gender and parental roles. Politics have therefore got into the efforts of ratifying the bill into law. There continues to be an undesirable competition of views towards the issue. In fact, the opposing views have not started recently. They were present even after the equal rights amendment was first proposed (Soule et al., 474).
Around the early 1920s, the amendment on equal rights received political debates among the feminists and through the opposing views; it has led to the unapproved amendment up to today. Feminists such as Judith Sealander and Alice Paul in their National Woman`s party were the principal defendants of the equal rights amendment on the account that men and women should be provided with a corresponding platform. They vehemently defended their arguments by preferring to sacrifice specific benefits given to women, but instead achieve equal rights. Women with the contrary opinion on the importance of the amendment led the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee (Soule et al., 475). Their views were based on the belief that the benefits accrued to women should not be stripped off since the loss of those privileges would not be of much worth than the benefit of equal rights. Besides, there was a political divide between working-class women and the middle-class women. The crusaders of the working women against the same rights amendment argued that legislation involving wage level, working hours, regulations on safety and maternity provisions was more beneficial to the many women who were forced to work under unsuitable conditions (Paxton et al., 138). After all, it had taken them a lot to achieve such legislation. Moreover, the rights of working women were protected by the law, and therefore there was no way the equal rights amendment was going to affect them. As such, it is evident that the political differences between the same genders like the feminists can have a political significance of the amendment of equality rights (McBride et al., 241).
The concepts of the Equal Rights Amendment gained increased political temperature in the early 1940s, when the Republican Party supported an earlier account of the amendment. The Democratic Party later made the endorsements in 1944. For instance, President Eisenhower, Kennedy, Jackson and Nixon all contributed to the support of the equal rights amendment. Surveys were even used to measure the public perception of people on the issue of equal rights, in a poll conducted by the CBS television corporation in 1970, 56% of the respondents were supporting the equal rights amendment by then (Steiner 145). With the fading of opposing Labor movements during the ratification period of 1970, the amendment had received support from newer prominent unions such as the United Auto Workers. The season before 1970 the labor movements were opposing the move to have the approval of the equal rights amendment since it would change the status quo of the working environment. However, towards 1980, the removal of support of the Republican Part of their support for the equal rights amendment led to the election of President Ronald Reagan. As such, it can be interpreted that the amendment on equality rights was sensitive and it created political wave fronts that led to either the support of a candidate or no support at all (Paxton et al., 140).
The Congress of the United States also displayed a change of attitude when it addressed issues related to the equal rights amendment. For instance, an Act on equal pay was established in 1963 and later in 1964 a Civil Rights Act was introduced with the aim of preventing discriminations against employees on accounts of sex, race or national origin. Hence, labor movements have a political significance on the ratification of amendments that would have a positive impact on the society (Steiner 147).
It is evident that all along the years since the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed, it has received considerable political significance with the many movements and groups defending their line of thought thus shaping the course of the ratification of the amendment. There are high hopes of the approval of the amendment if all the different ideas are reconciled. If the various states within the United States can agree towards the amendment, then the adoption of the amendment would result to better ways of solving cases concerning the sexual discrimination of women either in the workplace or among middle-class women.
Kretschmer, Kelsy, and Jane Mansbridge. “The Equal Rights Amendment Campaign and Its Opponents.” The Oxford Handbook of US Women’s Social Movement Activism (2017): 71.
McBride, Dorothy E., and Janine A. Parry. Women’s rights in the USA: Policy debates and gender roles. Routledge, 2016.
Paxton, Pamela, and Melanie M. Hughes. Women, politics, and power: A global perspective. CQ Press, 2015.
Soule, Sarah A., and Susan Olzak. “When do movements matter? The politics of contingency and the equal rights amendment.” American Sociological Review 69.4 (2004): 473-497.
Steiner, Gilbert. Constitutional Inequality: The Political Fortunes of the Equal Rights Amendment. Brookings Institution Press, 2011.