equal rights amendment
Activists will rally at the Fearless Girl statue in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Photo: Getty

Actress Alyssa Milano, New York Representative Carolyn Maloney and others rallied in New York City on Monday in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Gathered at the Fearless Girl statue in Manhattan, the activists held signs that read "Put Women in the Constitution" and "Equal Means Equal."

"We are here today because a whopping 94 percent of the American people support the Equal Rights Amendment," Maloney said in front of the crowd. "It is an amendment that is long overdue." 

The amendment, which was first approved by Congress in 1972, ensures equal rights regardless of sex. Last week, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the amendment, but 38 states need to be on board before Congress can ratify it. Activists are hoping New York can take that important step.

 

Maloney announced last week on the heels of the Illinois action that she will host a shadow hearing on the need for an Equal Rights Amendment on Wednesday, June 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. on Capitol Hill.

“I have introduced the ERA in the last 11 Congresses and my requests for legislative hearings or markups have gone unanswered,” she said in a previous statement. “So, on June 6 we will hold a hearing of our own so that my colleagues and the American people can hear from advocates and experts as to why we need to guarantee women’s equality in the Constitution. As we see attacks on women’s rights, autonomy, and bodies every single day from the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress, passing the ERA is our strongest weapon to fight back.

Milano — who helped kick off the #MeToo movement after sharing on Twitter the suggestion from a friend that “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem” — is helping raise awareness for the amendment.

"I am here today basically because women are not guaranteed equal justice under the law of our constitution. Really think about that," Milano said at the New York City rally. 

"In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed by the National Women's Political Party and it stated that the amendment was to provide for the legal equality of the sexes and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex," she continued. "Now, it is almost 100 years later and we are still fighting the same fight of this belief that equal means equal." 

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