By NEPHTHALIE LAUTURE
Thirty members of the University of Mary Washington’s Feminists United on Campus attended the We Are Woman Constitution Day Rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
“It was a kick-off rally for the new movement, which seeks to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment so that women may have full equality in the constitution,” senior women and gender studies and international affairs double major Paige McKinsey said. “This movement is the continuation of an earlier movement which fought to ratify the ERA but failed.”
The two-day event, from Sept. 12 through Sept. 13, was organized by We Are Woman in partnership with ERA Action and Progressive Democrats of America. It featured over 25 speakers and entertainment from Emmy Rivera, a comedian and storyteller, and Capital Blend, an all female a cappella group.
“This was the first time Feminist United has attended a rally as a club. I was ecstatic at the number of people who joined us from UMW,” Mckinsey said. “We have a passionate group of feminists this year. It is this passion that will allow us to affect change.”
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress by the National Women’s Party in 1923. Since then, the amendment has been introduced into every session of Congress. In 1972, it was finally passed and sent to the states for ratification.
The amendment’s seven-year deadline was extended by Congress to June 1982. Despite the extension, the amendment had only been ratified in 35 of the 38 states necessary for ratification. To this day, the Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be added to the Constitution.
Recently, there were two different types of ERA legislation introduced in the 113th session of Congress. The first is traditional and works to ratify the ERA, while the second, known as the three-state strategy, hopes to indefinitely remove the time limit placed on the ERA ratification.
“As a club, we define feminism as ‘Feminism is a doctrine and belief system fundamentally rooted in equality, which changes and evolves over time, space and circumstance, all while promoting the ideal that all peoples are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties,’” McKinsey said.
As a fairly new club, Feminist United on Campus has made monumental gains in spreading their advocacy. Within the next several months they hope to make a greater impact on campus with several events, all the while joining the national fight to ratify the ERA.