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Handbill, "Equal Rights Amendment," ca. 1920s

The National Women’s Party (NWP) was one of the first women’s rights groups to lobby in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment. This NWP flyer highlighted hopes that a constitutional amendment would guarantee women equality with men in pay, professional opportunities, property, child custody, contracts, and all other rights of citizens.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

National Women’s Party Handbill for the Equal Rights Amendment

Seeking Equality Under the Law

Following ratification of the 19th Amendment, which secured voting rights for women in 1920, suffragist Alice Paul drafted a constitutional amendment to guarantee equality for women in all areas of the law. Paul's Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1923 and reintroduced in every succeeding Congress until it finally passed both chambers in 1972. When the congressionally mandated deadline for ratification expired in 1982, 35 states had ratified it—three states short of the three-fourths required.