Illinois recently became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), bringing this monumental amendment within ONE state of achieving the required 38 state threshold. There will be another post-ratification hurdle, of course, but now the race is on to see which state will get us across this long-overdue finish line.
Arizona is not likely to be that state, as the GOP legislators have stonewalled every attempt to call for a vote on ratification. Even Governor Ducey isn’t in favor of the ratification, because he believes that Arizona is already a “land of opportunity” for women. Not so fast, governor.
It’s true that in 1912, Arizona was one of the few states that granted the right to vote to women prior to nationally authorized suffrage. However, this “right to vote” did not apply equally to all Arizona women. Native Americans weren’t granted citizenship until 1924, and were not awarded voting rights in Arizona until 1948. And, both Native American women and women of color continued to experience unfair voter suppression tactics until the Voter Rights Act of 1965 made them illegal.
According to the National Partners for Women and Children, “Arizona [women] are [still] paid [only] 83 cents for every dollar paid to men.” For black women, “they are paid 68 cents, Latinas are paid 55 cents and Asian women are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.” Is this fair and equitable in the land of opportunity? I don’t think so.
Governor Ducey did point to the number of women legislators, and on this point he is spot on. In fact, Rachel Berry was elected in 1914 as the first woman legislator. Arizona’s first congresswoman (Isabel Greenway) served in 1933. The “Most Women Governors” and “Women Holding All 4 State Offices” records belong to Arizona. And Arizona also has a record number of women running in the upcoming 2018 midterm election.
Then we have Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Ironically, (then) Arizona Senator Sandra Day O’Conner supported passage of the ERA, even though Arizona remains one of the 13 states yet to ratify the amendment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Arizona to honor Sandra Day O’Connor’s legacy by ratifying this amendment as State #38?
The ERA doesn’t grant equal rights to women; the ERA grants equal constitutional protection of women’s rights, which is why it’s so important to keep fighting for this amendment to get fully ratified. Because there are still women in Arizona whose rights are threatened every day, such as LBGTQ, DACA, and Muslim women (just to name a few).
So until rights for ALL women are equally protected under the constitution, we need to continue marching and fighting for women’s equality. For more information about the Mohave County Women’s March in January, email KingmanWomensMarch@yahoo.com.