Whatever Happened to the ERA?

I remember going with my mom to her groovy west side women’s lib group. She would pull on her white patent leather go-go boots and mini skirt. I would do the same with mine. I always tried to remember to wear my matching ERA button so I would be just like my mom.

Several of the women smoked with those long cigarette holders. I wanted one badly. I would try to eavesdrop to hear how feminists talked. They gossiped a bit. Susan didn’t like men at all, and Karen liked men a little too often. They talked about their hopes and politics. I learned about male chauvinism. It was at those groovy women’s lib meetings that I became a feminist.

When we got home my mom would swap her go-go boots for her fuzzy slippers, and cuddle up next to my big, sporty dad to laugh at Archie Bunker. Sometimes she would share secret stories from the group. We’d take turns getting up to adjust the tin foil on the rabbit-earred TV antenna. My dad was as proud of my mom as I was. She told him that he was not a male chauvinist pig, and that he was kind of a feminist, too.

The other day I wondered: Whatever happened to the Equal Rights Amendment? We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, but what about women? Did the ERA ever get ratified? Did it make it into the constitution?

The answer surprised me. I booked my ticket to DC to join The Million Woman March in January. I wish my mom was alive to march with me. I wish I had that damn button.

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