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H.J. Res. 208, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (Equal Rights Amendment), March 22, 1972

In 1970 the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed the House, but not the Senate. After Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan reintroduced it with slight revisions, it passed the House again in 1971 and the Senate in 1972. But by the extended deadline for ratification in 1982, the ERA was three states short of the three-fourths required for constitutional amendments.

"Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

H.J. Res. 208, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (Equal Rights Amendment), March 22, 1972 H.J. Res. 208, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (Equal Rights Amendment), March 22, 1972

Equal Rights for Women

After the Nineteenth Amendment secured women’s voting rights in 1920, suffragist Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to guarantee women’s full legal equality. Introduced in every Congress from 1923 to 1972, the ERA was repeatedly stymied in committee. Its opponents feared loss of special protections for women and resisted increasing federal authority. In 1970 Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan got the ERA discharged from committee. Slightly revised, the amendment passed both houses in 1972 but failed ratification by the required number of states and was never adopted.