Schakowsky Statement on ERA Vote

February 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC –  Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, voted in favor of H.J.Res.79 , which passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 232 to 183. The legislation would facilitate timely ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution by removing the arbitrary deadline to ratify the ERA. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, this would pave the way forward for including women in the foundational document of our democracy.

“As a young woman, I was in Springfield, IL along with thousands of women at the state capitol calling for ratification of the ERA. Though it failed then, in May of 2018, the Illinois legislature finally passed it, making us the 37th state to ratify. Just this year, the commonwealth of Virginia provided the requisite number of states, 38, required to ratify the ERA,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Every constitution in the world written since the year 1950—even Afghanistan—has the equivalent of an Equal Rights Amendment. It is long overdue for the United States to guarantee equality for women. We need to the ERA to enshrine women’s stature as equal under the law. The ERA would bolster our efforts to promote paycheck fairness and paid family leave, to end discrimination against pregnant workers, and to ensure comprehensive reproductive health care.”

When Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it attached an arbitrary seven-year ratification deadline to the preamble which was later extended three more years. By 1982, 35 states out of the required 38 states voted to ratify the amendment. In the past three years, grassroots campaigns have successfully secured ratification votes in Nevada, Illinois, and most recently, Virginia.

H.J. Res 79 is supported by women’s and equal rights organizations who have long championed action to ensure the ERA is ratified, including: ERA Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union, YWCA USA, National Organization for Women, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Women’s Law Center, and the National Partnership for Women and Families.

A copy of the joint resolution can be found here.