On March 13, as Women’s History Month neared the midpoint, the New York State Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bill to guarantee equal rights for women in New York State’s Constitution. The bill was sponsored by our assembly member, Rebecca Seawright.
An ERA, even in a liberal state like New York, is necessary. It would make equal rights for women a part of our constitution, and ensure that policies can not be made that discriminate against women.
“The women of our state deserve the constitutional protection of equal rights to ensure that progress made thus far in policies to prohibit sex discrimination is not weakened or undermined,” said Seawright.
In explaining the bills importance, Seawright pointed to efforts in recent years to roll back women’s rights in education, health, employment, and even domestic violence. This State-level ERA would ensure that, whatever happens on the Federal level, the women in New York State are protected from gender-based discrimination.
Although 130 nations have ERAs, many Americans are unaware that the U.S. is not among them. New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has lead efforts in Congress to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. Among these rights is the right to equal pay for equal work, an issue for which Congresswoman Maloney has passionately advocated.
She has introduced a federal ERA bill 11 times during her time in Congress.
She says, “I am incredibly proud of New York State for taking the first step towards guaranteeing gender equality in the State Constitution. By doing so, we are declaring that men and women are equals, and are sending a message that the days of discrimination against women are coming to an end. Thank you to Assembly Member Seawright for spearheading this effort.”
The bill will now have to be passed by the New York Senate.