The battles women fight everyday — for equal access to education, pay, and health care — would become conquerable if their rights were protected by the Constitution.
72% of Americans won’t join the fight for equal rights because they think the Constitution already guarantees them. We need your help to actually achieve that goal by adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Join our movement. Organize an Equal Means Equal event. Spread the word. We can get this done.
The people of Georgia have the opportunity to have their voices heard and play a part in the making of herstory by becoming the 38thand final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
The Georgia Senate and House are in session from January 14 to April – let’s get ERA voted on in THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION!
Call your representative now!
As of March 11, 2019, two bills have been introduced ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, one in the Georgia House and the other in the Georgia Senate. On January 14, 2019, Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) introduced HR 16 ratifying the ERA in the Georgia House of Represenatives. The bill was read a first time on January 15, 2019 and a second time a day later on January 16, 2019. HR 16 has been cosponsored by five other Democratic Representatives and is currently located in the House Judiciary Committee.
In the Georgia Senate, SR 55 ratifying the ERA was read and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 30, 2019. SR 55 has been sponsored by Senators Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), Renee Unterman (R-Buford), Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale), Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain), Zahra Karinshak (D-Duluth), and Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur).
To date, neither bill has been called for a vote.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Georgia was a battleground for the ratification of the ERA. In 1973, during a time in which many state legislatures were ratifying or voting on the Amendment, the Georgia House of Representatives sent the Equal Rights Amendment to a subcommittee for further study rather than bringing it for a vote.
A multitude of individuals and organizations within Georgia sought to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. One of the most influential advocacy groups was the Georgia Coalition for the ERA, which first changed its name to Georgia Council for the ERA and then finally in 1978 to ERA Georgia, Inc. Some of the activists who advocated for women’s equality as part of this organization included political strategist Beth Schapiro and ERA Georgia, Inc’s legislative liaison Sherry Sutton, who simultaneously held the position of DeKalb County Democratic Party chair while serving in this position between 1980 and 1981. Between 1981 and 1982 Sutton served as the president of ERA Georgia, Inc.
A major opponent of the ERA was Kathryn Dunaway, the leader of the Stop ERA Committee of Georgia. A colleague of national anti-ERA activist Phyllis Schlafly, Dunaway and other conservative women she organized met with legislators to oppose the Amendment. ERA foes in Georgia utilized a campaign of distributing loaves of bread to lawmakers that were labeled “From the breadmaker to the breadwinner”, glorifying traditional gender roles. After Dunaway died in 1980 and the 1981 Georgia legislative session began, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution expressing sympathy and lauding her political activism.
In 1974, the Georgia House Special Judiciary Committee sent the Amendment to the floor of the Georgia House without recommendation. Georgia’s State Representatives voted against the ERA that same year, with 104 Representatives opposed and 70 in favor. Later that same year, Virginia Lee Shapard, a Democrat and an ERA supporter, was the first woman to be elected to the Georgia State Senate. One year later in 1975, the Georgia Senate defeated the Amendment, with a vote count of 33 to 22 against the ERA. Then-Governor George Busbee mentioned his support for the ERA in his 1978 State of the State address. The Georgia Senate defeated the Amendment again in 1980, with 32 to 23 Senators opposing the measure. That same year, Cathey Steinberg and Eleanor Richardson, two of the most prominent ERA supporters in the legislature, were re-elected. Steinberg was the primary sponsor for ERA legislation between 1980 and 1981. In 1981, 73 percent of Georgians living in the central part of the state. favored the ratification of the ERA. Despite the popular support for the amendment in the Peach State, the Georgia House defeated a measure ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982 with 116 Representatives voting against the Amendment and 57 voting in favor.
Sutton explained some of the challenges facing the women’s movement in Georgia in an interview as part of the Georgia Women’s Movement Oral History Project at Georgia State University. She contended that the ERA was defeated in Georgia because religious organizations were successful in persuading both members of the legislature and the public that the ERA would be harmful to women.
Recent Events Regarding the ERA in Georgia
Georgia’s rapidly changing demographics may signify a shift in attitudes in a way that favors the ERA. According to a December 20, 2016 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia’s population growth in a single year was the seventh-largest population expansion in the U.S., with 110,973 new residents from 2015 to 2016. Another article in the same publication published on April 20, 2017 reported that the U.S. Census has estimated that thousands of people are moving to the Atlanta metropolitan area from across the country. Much of the growth has been attributed to the area’s economic expansion, with LinkedIn designating Atlanta as one of the top 10 cities for student hires. Given that support for the ERA has historically been strongest in urban areas as compared to rural regions in other states, the Peach State has the potential to become an area in which gender equality is in high demand.
On January 14, 2019, State Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) introduced HR 16 ratifying the ERA. The bill was read a first time on January 15, 2019 and a second time a day later on January 16, 2019. HR 16 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.
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Join the dozens of women’s organizations and thousands of women using the EQUAL MEANS EQUAL documentary film to reinvigorate the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment!
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Democracy is a team sport. Let your ladies know our time is now.
We are closely monitoring the status of the ERA in Georgia and will be regularly updating this page with the latest news and details on how you can contact Georgia lawmakers to help them come to the conclusion that 96% of Americans have: All people are equal and should be treated equally under the law.
ERA Ratification in the United States: Only ONE more state is needed to ratify the ERA
37 wins! Thanks to these states for protecting the rights of Americans and fighting to usher in a new ERA.