Gloria Steinem shocked that Equal Rights Amendment is not law | Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Feminist icon Gloria Steinem says it’s “insane” that the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution still hasn’t been ratified, nearly a century after it was first proposed.

Steinem, an author, journalist and longtime political activist for women’s rights, said the constitution was “written by guys for guys – white guys.”

“There has always been a need to make it inclusive, as it is supposed to be. Otherwise it’s not a democracy,” Steinem said on Saturday.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Steinem spoke to an audience of around 2,100 at the Altria Theater in Richmond and another 1,000 who watched live as she was interviewed by author and journalist Zainab Salbi in as part of the Richmond Forum Speaker Series.

“We are still fighting this battle, including in this state, which is absolutely crucial to the Equal Rights Amendment,” Steinem said.

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The Equal Rights Amendment, which states that “equal rights under the law shall not be denied or restricted by the United States or any state on the basis of sex,” was proposed to first seen in Congress in 1923, but was not passed by both houses of Congress. until 1972.

In 2020, Virginia, under Democratic control of the House and Senate, became the 38th state to ratify the amendment, reaching the four-fifths of states required to approve it. But that came well past a 1982 deadline set by Congress.

“It’s just insane that we’re just the democracy in the world that doesn’t assume people are citizens, regardless of gender,” she said.

Steinem’s remarks came just a day after Virginia formally withdrew from a federal lawsuit seeking to certify the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office cited legal opinions saying Virginia’s ratification came too late, rendering it void.

Steinem, leader of the women’s movement since the 1960s, joked that every airport should have a notice board welcoming international visitors with the message: “Welcome to the only democracy in the world that doesn’t include women in the constitution”.

An Equal Rights Amendment “is crucial and affects a lot of different things,” Steinem said. “It affects insurance rates and how we vote in state legislatures.”

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