WASHINGTON — While most Americans think gender equality is the law of the land, the Equal Rights Amendment — which would constitutionally guarantee that — was never ratified.
Actress Alyssa Milano is adding star power to a new push to get the 70s-era amendment added to the Constitution, teaming up with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) for an event on Capitol Hill next Wednesday.
Maloney has re-introduced the ERA this session and supporters got a boost this week when Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the amendment, which first passed Congress in 1972.
Thirty-eight are needed.
But so much time has passed, that it’s not clear if the amendment will pass legal muster if supporters can get a 38th vote.
Maloney first tried to resurrect the ERA more than a decade ago, hoping that the Democratic wave that put her party back in control of Congress and carried Sen. Barack Obama to the White House, would compel ratification.
It never worked out.
Proponents like Maloney and Milano argue that the ERA would ensure that legislation created in the midst of the #MeToo movement on issues like discrimination and harassment would be on firmer legal footing.
“The #MeToo movement was such a powerful phenomenon because for far too long women have not felt heard,” Milano said Thursday in a statement. “It’s hard to empower women when they are not recognized as part of our Constitution.”
“It’s simple we need the ERA to protect women’s rights. We need the ERA to make sure all women, and girls, know that they are in no way limited by their gender,” the actress added.