Rep. Speier Calls for Ratification of Equal Rights Amendment

In 1923, women’s suffrage leader Alice Paul introduced the idea of equal rights for women. It’s unlikely Paul would have foreseen people wearing “pussy hats” to help argue this point, but nearly a century later women are still fighting for equal rights.

On Sunday morning at Rinconada Park in Palo Alto, roughly 500 people gathered for The Rally and Walk for Equality. Organized by the same women who arranged the Women’s March in San Jose, Sunday’s speakers included an impassioned speech by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo). The event culminated with a two-mile walk to call attention to threats on women’s rights while also championing support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

“The Women’s March brought out so many new activists and women,” organizer Jenny Bradanini said. “Everybody’s asking what’s next, so it made sense for us to continue and turn the moment into a movement.”

Hip-hop dance instructor Esteban DeLeon warmed up the crowd before speakers took the stage along with about 30 children, many from the group Girls Learn International. The students held signs that read “ERA Yes” and “Stop The War On Women.”

Speakers ranged from elected officials and journalists to professors and doctors. Speier, who represents the 14th congressional district, focused her remarks on support for the ERA to become the law of the land. Congress passed the ERA in 1972, but only 35 states, including California, ratified the constitutional amendment, leaving the count short by three states.

“We now have 26 words, that’s it, count them,” Speier said. “Twenty-six words that we want to add to the Constitution. It’s not 1,200 pages like the Affordable Care Act. It’s not hundreds of pages like the so-called ‘American Care Act’ that had no ‘Health’ in it, but that’s another story. It’s 26 words. And why is this important? How can we be a country as equal as we presume to be and not have women protected in the Constitution?”

In her comments, Speier referred only to Section 1 of the Equal Rights Amendment. Here is the full language:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

According to polling done by USA Today, a majority of Americans incorrectly assume that women are guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution.

Downtown College Prep’s middle school group Rise Up shared their own stories Sunday, wrapping up the speaker series for the day. Four students shared their reasons for being at the event, each followed by a shout to “rise up, rise up.”

Participants made their way from Rinconada Park through the streets of Palo Alto while holding signs and chanting messages of empowerment.

Ida Sunneras, a 17-year-old student at Palo Alto High School, took part in the rally along with other members of Girls Learn International. “I realized a few years ago that I have a certain restless feeling in my body, that I realize it’s not gonna go away until there is equality,” Sunneras said. “I think I just care a lot; not only for myself, but for everyone. It’s simple—justice long overdue.”

Los Gatos resident Kjirste Morrell marched in hopes of informing more people about the amendment’s possible passage. She wore a pink hat, the same she donned for the San Jose Women’s March.

“I have a daughter who is 19 and she was really shocked to find out that [the ERA] hadn’t been passed,” Morrell said. “I think a lot of young people just assumed that’s the way it is in this country and you know, I think it should be. I also oppose (Donald) Trump and all of that, but this is specifically for the ERA.”

Nevada’s legislature recently took up the ERA and the amendment is expected to be ratified after passing out of both the state Senate and Assembly. Two more states are needed to meet the requisite 38 to solidify women’s rights in the U.S. Constitution.


  1. Passing the ERA, better be careful, you may actually lose rights like maternally leave that men don’t have.
    You could be subject to the draft. Could lose ladies night free drinks. No more toilets than men get in public places and you have to share with men that feel pretty in pink.
    My wife has always made more money than I have, so what is it you think you have lost in the “Democrats War On Women?”

    • An ERA Amendment will never pass in the lifetime of anyone here. A federal judge in Utah (IIRC) gave them seven years to get enough States to support passage, but the ERA folks just couldn’t cut the mustard.
      And that’s when a lot more States had Democrat governors.

      Today nearly two-thirds of States have Republican governors, so the likelihood of passing the ERA this time around is somewhere between slim and none. And Slim… etc.

      This is nothing more than grandstanding by Speier for the clueless vote (and if those pics show even “roughly 500″ ERA snowflakes, I’ll eat my hat and I’m a monkey’s uncle. <–More idioms on request).

  2. How, in an electoral “democracy”, does someone who advocates for the interests of half of the population over the interests of the other half of of the population get elected to public office?

    • Perhaps because enough of that half-population realizes what “equal” means — and realizes that their rights are not diminished when the “other half” are assured equal rights to their own.

        • The term “dumb” here might be as misapplied as “equal” was earlier. Or perhaps you mean it ironically, as in “dumb” = “”smart”?

  3. “According to polling done by USA Today, a majority of Americans incorrectly assume that women are guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution.”

    The 14th Amendment defines as citizens all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and prohibits states from actions which:

    — abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens
    — deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
    — deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    If the words of this amendment have failed to deliver as intended, then either the making of such laws is futile or what these women really want are rights and protections superior to those afforded others — specifically the right to ban the recognition of natural differences and dictate the standards by which they, and only they, may be judged.

    • Finfan, you cur! If women want equal rights they should have them! We should take half of all abortion funding and give it to men’s health clinics. We should give men child custody in at least half of all custody disputes and cut AFDC money by half and force all women receiving it to work and pay their portion of it to the man. We should flip a coin and allow a man to decide whether a woman has an abortion or not, in 50% of the cases instead of the woman always deciding whether to kill what the man has helped her create or to force him to pay support payments to her for 18 years for what he helped her create. Let’s obligate women to earn money that someone else spends and stress them to the point that their life span is lowered and their suicide rate is raised to equal that of a man.

      We should require women to register for the draft and if drafted, there will be no “gender norming” within military Units. When this inevitably results in all female combat Units, we should ignore the severe casualties that such Units will inevitably incur. (Anyone who doubts this would occur is not someone to be taken seriously). As well, just as a man would be court martialed if he deliberately injured or allowed himself to be injured in order to avoid deployment to a combat area, so too should a female soldier be disciplined for getting pregnant to avoid deployment.

      Women constitute 11.7% of the total military, but 12% of the officers, despite the fact that the first females graduated from West Point only in 1980. So, women have not been in the military nearly as long as some men. Although the women were only in the less dangerous combat zones, both sexes in the Persian Gulf received $110 per month extra combat pay. Women received equal pay for unequal risks. Men in the Armed Services are required to enter any combat position as needed, while women are given the option to enter or not enter combat, an underlying discrimination of giving women options and men obligations. Men are the disposable gender. Let us then grant these “equal rights”, that supposedly don’t exist, and not only allow women to fight and die for their country, but demand and require that they do.

      When a woman chooses not to get married we call her “independent” while saying that a man who doesn’t marry has a “fear of commitment”. We should require that a woman must promise to provide for a man for the rest of HIS life before he lifts HIS veil and shows her HIS smile.

      I await the predictable “Lysistrata” response from bitter (inevitably unattractive) misandrists.

  4. Memo to Diana:

    I’ve been reading up on humans in the Paleiolithic Era, when people still lived in “egalitarian” hunter-gatherer bands.

    Seems that males were buried with bows and arrows and firearms, and women were buried with pots and pans.

    Hmmmm. Draw your on conclusions.

    • SJO Bubble,

      I don’t see much of a difference here. Both men and women seemed to have been buried along with their personal weapons. Perhaps the difference would be that while men used bows and arrows to chase down elusive game such as deer, women used a frying pan to the back of his head if she caught her man chasing a 2-legged bambi.

  5. Rep. Speier Calls for Ratification of Equal Rights Amendment

    Yippee! That means the our decrepit school buildings are finally being well maintained, and the potholes in our streets have been fixed, etc….

    …which would explain why she’s trying to resurrect that failed issue from the last millennium.

    Because Speier couldn’t simply be grandstanding …could she?

    Nah, that’s unpossible. It would mean the unfilled potholes are a much lower priority.

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