Equal Rights Amendment

  • Larry D. BarnettEmail author


In 1972, a proposed amendment to the national Constitution was approved by Congress and submitted to the states. The proposed provision, which was popularly known as the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), declared that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The ERA has been depicted as an indispensable tool in the campaign to eliminate gender differentiations in the law of the country and in the facets of social life (e.g., employment) to which this law is applied. The present chapter contends, with supporting demographic data, that the ERA did not become part of the Constitution because during the period (1972–1982) when states were deciding whether to ratify it, the societal place of women differed materially from the societal place of men. Although substantial movement toward convergence was occurring in the social position of women and the social position of men, American society as a whole had not yet undergone much of the gender-relevant societal change that took place after the midpoint of the twentieth century.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Widener University Delaware Law SchoolWilmingtonUSA

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