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Women's Rights

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8/26/2021
Advocating for the ERA in North Carolina
By Elaine Okal
Posted on 8/26/2021 5:23 PM

by Sheila Denn & Elaine Okal, Women's Rights Committee Co-chairs

Virginia has now ratified the ERA! This makes Virginia the 38th state to do so. Now  three-fourths of the states have ratified the amendment, and it should be published by the Archivist of the United States and become the 28th Amendment.

However, due to legal challenges, this will not happen immediately. The question then becomes what we ERA advocates in North Carolina should do in the meantime.

It may seem counterintuitive at first, but we still need to push for North Carolina to ratify the ERA. The state was on the wrong side of history in not ratifying the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, until 1971! We should not let our state be in the wrong for so long again. So, we should continue to push our local legislators to get the ERA ratified in North Carolina. To that end, the ERA Committee is planning to host a postcarding event close to Valentine’s Day to remind them that we are still watching and that we would like them to get on board with the ERA when the short session commences in late April.

We still need to educate our fellow citizens, particularly young people, that women do not currently have equal rights under the US Constitution, and that the ERA is necessary to guarantee equal rights. To that end, we will be conducting a letter-writing campaign to reach out to younger voters, particularly women, to educate them on the need for the ERA and urge them to support it.

And finally, we need to stand up and be heard as constituents when we have a chance to interact with candidates for office. We should be prepared, as private citizens, to stand up and ask candidates if they support the ERA and what they will do to affect its ratification if elected.

If you would like to join our ERA Committee in its efforts, please reach out to Elaine Okal (emokal24@gmail.com) or Sheila Denn (sheila.denn@gmail.com), Co-Chairs of the LWV-Wake ERA Committee.