Logo: Civil Discourse, An American Legacy Toolkit
A protest rally on International Women's Day, in support of women's rights.

Women’s Rights

How far have women’s rights come and how much further do we need to go? Explore seminal events, cases, and texts such as the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, Minor v. Happersett (1875), Roe v. Wade (1973), Dobbs v. Jackson (2022), and the Equal Rights Amendment. Prepare to engage in discourse around what needs to be done to secure women’s equal rights once and for all.

Podcasts & Videos

The Equal Rights Amendment: Women’s Rights, Part 5

  1. Watch and listen to the 60-Second Civics video below. If you'd like, you can also read along using the script that appears below the quiz. Or you can turn on the video's subtitles and read while watching the video.
  2. Take the Daily Civics Quiz. If you get the question wrong, watch the video again or read the script and try again.
Episode Description
Mark Gage: Welcome to 60-Second Civics, the daily podcast of the Center for Civic Education. I'm Mark Gage. We are joined today by special guest Lisa Tetrault, associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Tetrault, it's been nearly a century since the Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed. What is the ERA and how would ratification of this amendment to the Constitution change American life?

Dr. Lisa Tetrault: The ERA is fascinating. It's the Equal Rights Amendment, and it's an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It was proposed much earlier than many people think. It was proposed in 1923, in the aftermath of the victory of the 19th Amendment, the so-called women's suffrage amendment. That amendment had said no discrimination in voting on the basis of sex.

And so a variety of women said, let's continue with this constitutional revolution and say no discrimination in anything on the basis of sex. And it's gone through various wordings over the time. But the idea is essentially that it would make sex discrimination an unconstitutional act. It has been introduced in Congress every year for a long time, beginning in 1923, it was proposed by Crystal Eastman and Alice Paul, a former suffragist, and it finally passed Congress in 1972.

It then went to the states for ratification, fell short, got an extension, and then state started there, started to be a very active anti-NRA campaign led by someone named Phyllis Schlafly. And then the the entire thing fell apart and was never passed or never amended. It was never ratified and added to the Constitution by the states. There is now an effort underway to do that.

Whether or not it will succeed remains to be seen. And what an ERA would do is going to be up largely to the ingenuity of the people and the interpretations of the court.

Mark Gage: Well, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast, Dr. Tetrault. That's all for today's podcast. 60-Second Civics, where civic education only takes a minute.

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