My name is Kamala Lopez and I have spent the last decade examining gender discrimination, its noxious effects on American society and the impact it has on the ability of our women, girls and families to succeed and thrive.
I believe that the addition of a gender equality clause to the United States Constitution is not only the first necessary action to fix the problem, but the ONLY single action that will effectively begin to address what is a systemic and institutional crisis, one whose roots lie in the very DNA of the founding document of the United States of America, our Constitution.
This organization is an outgrowth of the ERA Education Project, ERA University and the documentary film I directed, Equal Means Equal. I am joining forces with the Blue State Digital team (Sam Zimmerman, Julianna Egner and Laura Kunkel), artist and ERA Activist, Natalie White, and a growing team of state leaders, organizations and activists on the ground.
We are an inclusive, non-partisan, non-denominational, diverse group of concerned people from all over this country and the world; of all ages, races, genders and religions who see women as a crucial part of the solution to our multiple social crises both in the U.S. and worldwide.
The equal means equal initiative supports the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in its current form with the objective of educating individuals and engaging communities regarding the role of the Amendment in eradicating inequities facing women across the country.
The initial phase of this initiative will focus on the states needed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. In order for an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to become law, two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of Senators first need to approve it. Then, the Amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures in order to go into effect.
The text of the Equal Rights Amendment, as passed by Congress and ratified by state legislatures, states:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Today, the Equal Rights Amendment would only need one more of the following states to ratify it in order to fulfill the three-fourths requirement needed to adopt a Constitutional Amendment and become law:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,
North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
Utah and Virginia.
Nevada became the first state to ratify the amendment since the 1970s, when, on March 22, 2017, the Nevada state legislature courageously ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.
One of the chief supporters of Nevada’s ratification of the amendment, State Senator Pat Spearman, explained to KNPR that the deadline “…was in the resolving clause, but it wasn’t a part of the amendment that was proposed by Congress”.
In the 21st century, women in the United States contend with discrimination, economic insecurity, and violence in a variety of forms. The contrast between the reality experienced by American women and the ideals of justice, liberty, general welfare, and domestic tranquility as outlined by the preamble of the U.S. Constitution could not be more vast.
A goal of subsequent phases will seek to advance women’s rights worldwide. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, both developed and developing countries have looked to the United States for global leadership. During the mid-20th century, the U.S. was referred to as the “leader of the free world” on account of the rhetoric of its elected officials voicing their advocacy of democratic principles on the world stage. As such, during and following the end of the Cold War, developing countries followed the lead of the United States in terms of some social and economic policy. Many countries transitioned from authoritarian political systems to republics that offered more civil liberties than in past eras. With the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and the success of the Equal Means Equal Initiative, the United States can lead the world towards gender equality on a global scale.
With love and thanks,
Kamala Lopez, Natalie White & the EME Team
American Medical Women’s Association
Coalition of Labor Union Women
League of Women Voters
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Panhellenic Conference
National Women’s Political Caucus
Rebel Action Network
The Women’s March
Miami University’s Women’s Center
Fairfax County Federation of Teachers
General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Virginia
Virginia Education Association
NARAL-Pro choice North Carolina
League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area