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Petition against ERA, Diocesan Bureau of Social Service, Hartford, Connecticut, February 4, 1924

The Connecticut Council of Catholic Women petitioned Congress in protest of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Voicing concern for the nation’s nearly 12 million women industrial workers, they argued that the ERA would invalidate such hard-won special protections as mother’s compensation and limitation of women’s work hours, unless men received the same benefits.

It has taken years to obtain legislation which will offer the right protection to women workers…With the passage of this measure all of this legislation will be invalidated unless there is similar legislation for men.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Petition against ERA, Diocesan Bureau of Social Service, Hartford, Connecticut, February 4, 1924 It has taken years to obtain legislation which will offer the right protection to women workers…With the passage of this measure all of this legislation will be invalidated unless there is similar legislation for men.

Equal Rights for Women

After women achieved voting rights in 1920 with the 19th Amendment, suffragist Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to guarantee equality for women in all areas of the law. Some opponents, however, feared the ERA would negate other hard-won legal protections for women. Introduced in Congress in 1923, the ERA was reintroduced in every succeeding Congress until it finally passed both chambers in 1972. Ratified by 35 of the 38 states needed, it failed to become a constitutional amendment.