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NOW flyer, "Countdown Rally for ERA Ratification," June 30, 1981

The National Organization for Women (NOW), the League of Women Voters, and ERAmerica, a coalition of women’s organizations, were leading proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment. NOW’s 1981 ERA support rally took place in Lafayette Square, near the White House, where suffragists had often rallied for the right to vote.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

National Organization for Women's "Countdown Rally for ERA Ratification" Flyer

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.