Virginia needs to heed JCC vote, pass ERA

In reading The Virginia Gazette's recent article, "County voices support for Equal Rights Amendment," I was eager to learn the details. Thank you to James City County Supervisors John McGlennon, Ruth Larson and Jim Icenhour for your positive votes. I cannot understand why anyone would be negative nor the reason behind Michael Hipple and Sue Sadler dissenting. I think of Virginia ratifying the ERA as simply unfinished business being completed.

Neither male or female gender get the upper hand with ERA; it says equal rights and no discrimination based on sex. When Congress approved the ERA, it not only opened doors closed to the female gender, it also opened doors to the male gender for exclusive female benefits, recognizing fathers are single parents, too, and the jobs traditionally not offered to men.

The ERA went both ways, goes both ways; it has nothing to do with political parties or political agendas.

Starting in the 19th century, women demonstrated for the right to vote — the same as men — before winning that right in 1920. Women moved forward for total equal rights and the ERA was introduced to the U.S. Congress in 1923. But it would take a national movement for Congress to stop ignoring the amendment and they finally passed it in 1973 — 50 years later.

The states ratification process was in full swing until the STOP-ERA movement gained momentum and slowed ratification to a trickle. I think about this today and wonder what was that about? How could women be convinced they were better off as second class? They listened to men, fearful of losing their authority.

The deadline for ratification by 38 states was not met; Congress extended it, but still fell short by a couple states; and that is where it remained, now 45 years later.

Sadler was quoted as saying, "If I did not feel I had equal rights, I would never have been able to run for office and win." You are so right; before ERA you had no chance. Still, both genders need the safeguard of a Constitutional amendment.

The current administration has shown how easy it is to demolish past legislation with an executive order, but they don’t apply to the U.S. Constitution.

Women's rights must not exist based on the whim of one person, the president. Women suffered discrimination and abuse for centuries and at the least deserve recognition and the safeguards of the Constitution.

Linda Hansell

James City County

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette
79°