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Group Launches 2020 Campaign To Ratify Equal Rights Amendment In VA On 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage

Supporters Rally for the ERA.
Supporters Rally for the ERA. (Photo: Whittney Evans/VPM News)

Monday is Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment guaranteed American women the right to vote. Women’s equality advocates are using the celebration to launch a 2020 campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia. 

At a morning press conference, advocates announced a series of educational events aimed at making Virginia the 36th and final state needed to ratify the ERA.

Virginia’s Republican-led General Assembly declined to ratify the ERA in 2019.

Carol Stephens with the American Association of University Women of Virginia says women are still paid less than men and are underrepresented in board rooms, legislative bodies and court rooms.

“It is obvious that no matter what laws are passed at the state and national level we are not guaranteed equality under the law until the Equal Rights Amendment is passed and it is written into the Constitution,” Stephens said.

The group announced the #iScream4Equality ice cream truck tour and the formation of a Virginia chapter of a National Women’s Political Caucus. First Lady Pam Northam also announced Governor Northam’s proclamation in support of Virginia’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Although the 19th Amendment was adopted in 1920 when Tennessee became the last state needed for ratification, Virginia didn’t ratify the amendment until 1952.

Eileen Davis, a longtime ERA activist and the mother of U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th said Virginia has a chance to make that right.

“To the members of the General Assembly that will be seated in January 2020, I say this; The Equal Rights Amendment will be ratified. It is inconceivable we will still be equivocating whether gender equality should be enshrined in the constitution along with race, religion and national origin 50 years from now,” Davis said. “History will judge your vote”




Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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