Thank you for your reporting in Palmetto Politics letting us know that state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter plans to introduce the Equal Rights Amendment during next year’s legislative session. The recent ratification of the ERA in Nevada and Illinois has brought the focus on women’s rights back into the light.

While the time ran out to ratify the ERA in the early 1980s, the movement is far from dead. Women’s rights advocates have been steadily working to educate women of the significant impact the ERA could have in their lives — from their education to employment to general health and well-being right up to retirement. And while great progress has been made over the years, women are still not equal under the law.

If the current laws worked, we would not have the rampant inequality we have today. Your paper has done an excellent job of reporting on the gender pay gap (motherhood penalty doctor study), health care and reproductive rights (ACA / AHCA / Personhood) and domestic violence (Till Death Do Us Part series) to name just a few. A study into each of these topics shows the disparate impact on women is significant. Men do not face this standard of inequality.

Our labyrinth of state and federal laws are subject to interpretation and revocation by whichever legislative body, court or administration is in power (which incidentally is composed of 80 percent men). Since all of our laws emanate from the Constitution, the only remedy for women to get equal treatment under law is by amending the Constitution to guarantee it.

One of our biggest hurdles is that 80 percent of the American populace already believes the Constitution guarantees women equal rights. It does not. So please, continue to report on women’s rights and the importance of the Equal Rights Amendment. If just one more state legislature ratifies, the ERA could become the law of the land.

Barbara Fry

Equal Means ERA Coalition

League of Women Voters

of the Charleston Area

Mobile Street

Mount Pleasant

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