Equal Rights Ammendment
A potential constitutional reform is to implement the Equal Rights Amendment. If the constitution implemented the Equal Rights Amendment, inequality based on gender would be deemed unconstitutional. The idea of the equal rights amendment is not new and has been thought about for years, but has still not been passed. The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced by Alice Paul in 1923, and many supporters fought for the amendment to be implemented through protests and acts of civil disobedience from 1972 to 1982. Thirty seven states in the United States have ratified this amendment, which is only one state away from the three-fourths needed to add this amendment to the constitution (“Equal Rights Amendment”).
While there are laws created for women to be protected from discrimination such as the Equal Pay Act, Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and Pregnancy Discrimination Act, these acts can be interpreted in different ways, especially in the setting of a court since there is nothing in the constitution directly stating that there cannot be discrimination in terms of gender. Furthermore, these laws can easily be removed is congress votes to eliminate the law, while a constitutional reform cannot be removed with the same level of ease (“Equal Rights Amendment”). Another common argument against this reform is that the 14th amendment provides equality for all citizens, so the Equal Rights Amendment is not necessary. The 14th Amendment was first applied to sex discrimination in 1971, and it has never been interpreted to grant equal rights on the basis of sex in the uniform and inclusive way that the Equal Rights Amendment states it would (“14th Amendment Adopted”). The only right that the U.S. Constitution specifically affirms and applies equally to women and men is the right to vote.
The Equal Rights Amendment would help with many aspects of gender inequality today, such as the wage gap, which could be helped by this reform by helping to raise the salary in occupations where wages are low because they are stereotypically female dominated. As of right now, there is a 20% wage gap between men and women (“Women Deserve Fair Pay Now”). This percent is high enough to prove that this is not a coincidence, but discrimination, especially since 58% of students enrolled in college are women (Marcus), meaning today, there are more educated women than men coming into the workforce, yet women are getting paid 20% less than men. This amendment would also help with military rights for women as the military would legally have to meet the needs of women soldiers by providing the medical services that women need. As of right now, abortion can not be performed by by military medical services and federal funds can not pay for such services, unless cases of rape, incest, or the life of the pregnant woman (Grindlay). Passing the Equal Rights Amendment would allow for women in the military to receive funding for abortions for all women.
Although society is slowly improving, legal sex discrimination is not yet a thing of the past, and the progress society has made could easily be reversed since discrimination due to sex is not directly unconstitutional. Women’s rights are not protected by the constitutional amendments that we have today as the only right both genders have is the right to vote. The Equal Rights Amendment would ensure that all of society’s progress is saved, and that society continues to improve and solve problems regarding gender discrimination.