When you have lived for as long as I have, you witness many systemic inequities in the ways of man. It is hard for me to imagine that the subjugation of a human being due to the color of their skin was legal, but it was for a long time in most of the civilized world. It is difficult to fathom that women are still not guaranteed their rights under the US Constitution, TODAY! The equal rights amendment has never been passed in the United States! The new movie about Ruth Bader Ginsberg, ON THE BASIS OF SEX, is at the movies right now and is a wonderful movie to help understand the evolution of women’s rights. At the forefront of this movement is a tiny lady with a tremendous amount of courage and determination. I encourage you to see it!
The year is 1975 and Ruth Bader Ginsberg attempts to enter the job market. Graduating at the top of her class from a very prestigious law college, she encounters a job market that was unwilling to hire her as a lawyer. The reasons given for refusing to hire her ranged from the disruptive influence of a female in the office, jealousy of the wives, to what if you decide to have a baby. Frustrated with a society that was unwilling to acknowledge her as a lawyer capable of doing work that was considered man’s work, she set out to change the law. Her husband was a very accomplished tax lawyer. He presented her with the idea of pursuing her goal through a small tax case dealing with a man’s right to claim a tax deduction as his mother’s caretaker. After winning this case she used it as a springboard to launch a myriad of cases attacking small legal battles that discriminated by gender. Slowly and methodically she won 8 of 9 cases that ensured that gender not be considered when making a ruling. The tide was changing and Ruth Ginsberg was at the front of the storm. She would go on to be on the Federal court and then in 1993 was confirmed to serve on the highest court in the land, The United States Supreme Court.
Ruth has vision and imagination. These two qualities are what allow her to move forward, solve problems and create a better world. She had the ability to see a behavior that was accepted as correct at the time, realized it needed to be changed and represented people to seek justice through the courts. This is the kind of vision that helps to make the world a better and fairer place. The point I am trying to make is our society usually discourages this kind of behavior. If one thinks outside the box, expect to be criticized, expect to be ostracized, and expect to be ignored during promotion time. If one wants to move up through the ranks, follow the rules, do not question anything and enforce rules that seem unfair regardless if you think they are. This is the way to the top in much of the workplace. If you want to make this world a better place, speak out!
Below is a summation of the current status of the ERA. Even though some states are ratifying it, the initial deadline has not been extended and is expired.
No longer pending
- The Equal Rights Amendment (proposed 1972) would have prohibited deprivation of equality of rights (discrimination) by the federal or state governments on account of sex. A seven-year ratification time limit was initially placed on the amendment, but as the deadline approached, Congress granted a three-year extension. Thirty-five states ratified the proposed amendment prior to the original deadline, three short of the number required for it to be implemented (five of them later voted to rescind their ratification). No further states ratified the amendment within the extended deadline, thus it failed to be adopted. On March 22, 2017, the 45th anniversary of Congress’ submission of the ERA to the nation’s state lawmakers, the Nevada Legislature became the first to ratify the ERA after the expiration of both deadlines with its adoption of Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 (designated as “POM-15” by the U.S. Senate and published verbatim in the Congressional Record of April 5, 2017, at pages S2361 and S2362). The Illinois General Assembly ratified the ERA on May 30, 2018.