Equal Rights Amendment


The American Constitution Society advocates for the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”) to be recognized as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We provide programming and resources to help foster greater understanding of this century-long fight for gender equality.

A woman in a Los Angeles crowd holds an ERA sign August 1972. Photo by George Garrigues.
The ERA is critical to addressing a founding failure of our Constitution – its silence on gender equality. The Amendment reads “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” and gives Congress power to enforce this proscription against gender discrimination. Thirty-eight states have acknowledged this founding failure and ratified the ERA in accordance with the procedure provided in Article V. It is part of the Constitution and should be treated as such.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution lays out two methods by which the Constitution can be amended. Every amendment to the Constitution has utilized the same method. Two-thirds of each chamber of Congress proposed an amendment to the Constitution and that amendment was subsequently ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. The ERA has satisfied each of these steps.

On March 22, 1972, the 92nd Congress passed House Joint Resolution 208, proposing the ERA and sending it to state legislatures for ratification. By a vote of 354-24 in the House and 84-8 in the Senate, each chamber comfortably surpassed the required two-thirds threshold.

On January 27, 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. As a result of Virginia’s ratification, the ERA reached the three-fourths of states threshold and thereby satisfied all requirements prescribed in Article V to become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

ACS has and will continue to hold national and chapter events about the need to acknowledge the ratification of the ERA and recognize it as the 28th Amendment.

Letters to Congress


Response to Request from then-Chairwoman Maloney on the current legal status of the ERA

Letter from Russ Feingold to Hon. Carolyn Maloney, then-Chair, Committee on Oversight and Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives on the 50th Anniversary of the ERA.

Mar 21, 2022
Press Release

On 50th Anniversary of Congress Passing the ERA, Chairwoman Maloney Presses Archivist to Recognize ERA as 28th Amendment

Corresponding Oversight Committee Press Release regarding Russ Feingold's March 21 letter.

Mar 22, 2022

The Equal Rights Amendment: How Congress Can Recognize Ratification and Enshrine Equality in Our Constitution

Statement by Russ Feingold Before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Feb 28, 2023


Broken Law Podcast Episode 95: Why The ERA Is More Important Than Ever
MARCH 28, 2023

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced in 1923. 100 years later, with 38 states having ratified it, should it be considered the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Lindsay Langholz speaks with Kathleen Sullivan about the status of the ERA and why the ERA is more important than ever. READ MORE »

Broken Law Podcast Episode 67: Sex, Gender Identity, and the Constitution
SEPTEMBER 13, 2022

On this episode, we discuss sex, gender identity, and the Constitution. That’s because we are talking about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the argument that it is already the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. Lindsay Langholz is joined by Kate Kelly, author of “Ordinary Equality,” to discuss the ERA’s long journey, the women and queer activists who kept the project going for so long, and why their work and their fight are still relevant today. READ MORE »


In brief

Celebrating Women's History Month and the ERA

Mar 3, 2023
This week kicked off Women’s History Month. Not coincidentally, this week also saw the Senate Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on “The Equal Rights Amendment: How Congress Can Recognize Ratification and Enshrine Equality in Our Constitution.” It is great to see the Senate champion the ERA, which I believe has met all constitutional requirements for […]
Read more
Expert Forum

A New Beginning? Justice Ginsburg and the Equal Rights Amendment

Mar 25, 2021
Timed to honor Women’s History Month, the House voted last week to remove the time limit on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA, which would explicitly enshrine sex equality in the Constitution, was proposed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification within seven years.  A supermajority of […]
Read more
Expert Forum

Congress Can and Should Take Action on the ERA

Feb 11, 2020
This week, the House of Representatives will take up H. J. Res. 79, which would remove the time limit on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  The recent ratifications by Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia have put the practice of imposing time limits to the test, and a lawsuit by the Attorneys General of those three […]
Read more

Media Mentions

New York Times

Democrats Try a Novel Tactic to Revive the Equal Rights Amendment

Jul 13, 2023
“For the institution that actually put this limitation of the deadline on to say, ‘Actually, it doesn’t matter’ really is significant,” Mr. Feingold said. “The White House and members of Congress are beginning to see that credible legal scholars are saying this is already part of the Constitution.”

1A Remaking America: Is It Time For a 28th Constitutional Amendment?

Jul 5, 2022
"Three-fourths of the states must ratify an amendment before it gets added to the Constitution. In today's divided nation, could any issue realistically gain that level of support? Russ Feingold, Aziz Rana, Zakiya Thomas, and Gregory Watson join us for the conversation."


The 19th Amendment’s Centennial and the Ongoing Fight for Women’s Equality

The 19th Amendment’s Centennial and the Ongoing Fight for Women’s Equality

with Melissa Murray, now-Rep. Jennifer McClellan of Virginia, Reva Siegel, and Julie Suk

Aug 26, 2020
One hundred years after ratification of the 19th Amendment, women are still striving for equality before the law. Advocates and activists continue to push for equitable wages, reproductive freedom, childcare, opportunity for education and employment, and full access to the vote.

Current Efforts to Amend the Constitution: A Constitution Day Discussion

with Kamala Lopez, Wilfred Codrington II, Aziz Huq, Michelle Kallen, and Russ Feingold

Sep 17, 2020
The American Constitution is by design famously hard to change, and as a result, it has been almost 30 years since it was last formally amended. Recently, we've seen amendment battles play out in a number of ways. Conservative legal forces, seeking a Balanced Budget Amendment and Term Limits, have been attempting to call a constitutional convention. But could the subject matter of such a convention be limited?
Program Guide

Marking the Centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment

ACS 2020 Program Guide

ACS released its 2020 Program Guide to mark the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification to honor the hard work and steadfast commitment that went into its passage, to elevate the women who were and continue to be left behind in the march toward progress, and to explore the Amendment’s legacy and continued significance for gender equality today.