What is the ERA and Why Do We Still Need It?
On Thursday, March 16, 2023 at Edina City Hall, beginning at 7:00 PM, LWVE will hosted Kathryn Ringham and Pat Reisenger of ERA MN. They talked about the history of inequality in the U.S., previous efforts to add ERAs to the Minnesota and U.S. constitutions, why an ERA matters, and the actions that are needed now.
Kathryn Ringham serves on the Executive Committee of ERA Minnesota. has been working for equality via passage of the ERA since 2017. She also is involved with climate action at the local and state level, striving to leave the world a better place for future generations, including her five grandchildren. Before retirement, Kathryn worked “at the busy intersection of elders, families, and caregiving” as a gerontological social worker.
Pat D. Reisenger became a union activist, advocating for teachers and classroom professionals, after working as a medical researcher on the East Coast and teaching high school sciences in the Bloomington Public Schools. She now is retired, following service with Education Minnesota as a professional development specialist and director of its non-profit foundation.
Neither the the U.S. Constitution nor the Minnesota Constitution mandates gender equality. The fight for an Equal Rights Amendment has lasted 100 years.
In 1923, just three years after the 19th Amendment guaranteed most women the right to vote, the first Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was proposed in Congress. In 1972, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate passed an ERA and states began to ratify, stalling ten years later short of the required number.
More recently (2017-2020), a renewed push earned the needed ratification by 38 states. State ERAs have been adopted in Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
ERA Minnesota, a nonprofit volunteer organization, is working to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution through a ballot measure passed by popular vote. In addition, it joins efforts nationwide to enact the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
To learn more about the ERA, please see these websites: