Equal Rights?

Womens Equality DayEQUAL RIGHTS?

The following speech was given by LWVPBC President Karen Wilkerson at the Women’s Equality Day event sponsored by PBC NOW on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at the Delray City Library.

It was in March of 1972 that Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification.

In the seventies, I was a young mother, eager to secure the rights for myself and my daughters. In fact, I even brought my daughters to the state house when the debate was scheduled. Hopes were high.

By 1977 only three more states were needed to amend the United States Constitution. So the deadline for ratification was extended until 1982. Yet, here we stand in 2017, and we are still waiting. Gads, my grandchildren are nearing the age I was when this all started.

So what has happened since 1972? Well, let’s see:

  • more women have graduated college and graduate schools at universities
  • more women have joined the military to defend our country
  • more women have become head of households
  • more women have been elected to office
  • more women have been elected as Governors and U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators
  • more women have been candidates for President
  • more women are CEO’s of companies, more women serve as judges and even some on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, these women still do not have equal rights under our Constitution. They do not have the same rights as a 21-year-old male.

On March of this year, Nevada finally passed the ERA. And what about Florida? Well, Florida has not chosen to pass the ERA. Yes, folks, we are still second class citizens deemed unfit to make decisions and assume responsibilities. Crazy? Wild? Sad? But most of all insulting.

Just how many hurdles are we expected to traverse? Can’t the Florida Legislature see that all people should be equal under the law? I hear about government caring about people and giving them opportunities. When will it be our turn?

Are your Florida Representative and Senator supporting the ERA? We can, and should, make our voices count at the election booth.