U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood highlighted the importance of adopting the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at a news conference in West Chicago on Friday.
Underwood, D-Naperville, spoke the day after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to remove the deadline to ratify the ERA, according to a news release. Her office said passage of the ERA is key to “reaffirming Congress’ support for women’s equality.”
“Women are breaking down barriers and shattering glass ceilings in education, at work, in the law, in the military, and at home,” Underwood said in the release. “But legal gender discrimination, pay disparities, and inequality remain. And they won’t go away on their own.”
Underwood said the ERA is still needed today and cited challenges faced by women, including unequal pay, discrimination for being pregnant and sexual harassment.
“It’s unacceptable,” Underwood said in the release. “Americans needed protections like these when the ERA was first proposed in 1923 and we still need these protections today.”
When Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it attached a seven-year ratification deadline, which was later extended, according to the release. By 1982, 35 states out of the 38 required had ratified the ERA.
Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA in 2018 and earlier this month, Virginia became the 38th state to do so, according to the release.
The House of Representatives passed the resolution to remove the deadline with a vote of 232 to 183 last week.