We need to keep moving forward.
by Betty Folliard (as posted in the StarTribune August 23)
Another Women’s Equality Day will come and go Aug. 26, and still no equality for women is in sight.
What have we seen? The regression of our rights.
And what actions toward equality of rights for every citizen have been taken to move our state and country toward a more perfect union? At the state level, not a whole heap.
In the Minnesota House, early action took place this past session to pass Equal Rights Amendment bills through a host of committees, but an anti-choice majority in that chamber prevented House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, from calling for votes on the House floor.
In the Minnesota Senate, far-right conservative white men, clinging to the last throes of a patriarchal structure that has dominated for so long, refused to even meet with activists to entertain the notion of a conversation about the idea of legalizing equality.
More forward motion on equal rights is playing out at the federal level. This year the U.S. House passed legislation to remove the arbitrary time limit imposed on the ERA last century; similar action awaits Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, permitting a vote in the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, many state attorneys general, along with over 200 women’s rights and justice organizations, top constitutional law experts, 86 major corporations and others are suing to finally publish the now-ratified Equal Rights Amendment. The sticking point remains a memo sent from the Trump administration to the National Archivist preventing said department from doing its ministerial duty to publish the ERA.
But hope is on the horizon.
The recent Supreme Court Dobbs decision removing not just our reproductive rights but effectively obliterating 14th Amendment rights has awakened a sleeping public. In response, women are registering in record numbers to vote in this election. This bodes well for electing equality this November.
What can the average citizen do to advance equality for people with uteruses? Easy: Ask candidates whether they will champion the Equal Rights Amendment if elected. Then hold them accountable. Vote progressive women into office. Then support their efforts to move America toward a more just society.
Vote equality. Elect equality.
Then maybe, just maybe, come next year’s Women’s Equality Day we will actually have something to celebrate.
Betty Folliard, of Minneapolis, is a former state representative and president emeritus of ERA Minnesota.