First Equal Rights Amendment Introduced

1923

Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party succeed in having a constitutional amendment introduced in Congress that said: “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” In 1943, it will be revised to what is known today as the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1972, after Congress’ approval, the ERA will be sent to the states for ratification with a seven-year deadline.

The ERA quickly secures 22 of the necessary 38 state ratifications, but the pace slows as opposition organizes – only eight ratifications in 1973, three in 1974, one in 1975, and none in 1976. Although Congress grants an extension for ratification until 1982, the ERA does not succeed in getting three more state ratifications before the deadline. It is reintroduced in Congress on July 14, 1982, and has been before every session of Congress since that time.