1977 January 18

Indiana the Last State to Ratify the ERA


On this day, Indiana became the last state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution, which would have guaranteed equal rights for women. A conservative backlash against the ERA had already set in, however, and several states rescinded their earlier ratifications. The campaign for the ERA died at this point. The campaign against the ERA was led by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (born August 15, 1924).

The Equal Rights Amendment was originally drafted by Alice Paul and made public on July 21, 1923. It was introduced in virtually every session of Congress until the 1960s. Fueled by the reinvigorated women’s rights movement, this latest version was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972.

Learn about Alice Paul, author of the ERA in 1923: Jill Zahniser and Amelia Fry, Alice Paul: Claiming Power (2014)

Read: Mary Frances Berry, Why ERA Failed: Politics, Women’s Rights, and the Amending Process of the Constitution (1986)

Learn more from an ERA timeline: http://www.now.org/issues/economic/cea/history.html

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