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Statement of Margaret Mead on the ERA, September 12, 1975

Anthropologist Margaret Mead initially opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, fearing it would negate workplace and other special protections for women. After Congress passed the revised amendment she fully supported it, arguing that "We need the full participation of women in every type of work ... at every level of government and industry."

The United States can hardly stand up among the nations of the world as the land of the free while arguing over the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

The United States can hardly stand up among the nations of the world as the land of the free while arguing over the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The United States can hardly stand up among the nations of the world as the land of the free while arguing over the passage of 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.