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Equal Rights Amendment

Text and brief background of the Equal Rights Amendment, written in 1921 by suffragist Alice Paul.

Alice Paul, 1921

Section 1.
Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.
Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3.
This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

The Equal Rights Amendment was written in 1921 by suffragist Alice Paul. It has been introduced in Congress every session since 1923. It passed Congress in 1972, but failed to be ratified by the necessary thirty-eight states by the July 1982 deadline. It was ratified by thirty-five states.

Supporters contend that the ERA is needed because the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not provide adequate protection against sex discrimination. Opponents claim that the ERA will provide no benefits, and may hurt women.

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