The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

50 Years, 100 Years:
Where Is Women’s Equality?

Mar 14, 2022

March 22, 2022 is the fiftieth anniversary of Congress passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). This ERA was then sent to the states to ratify, but 38 states did not pass it in the ten following years, so it never became a constitutional amendment. Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the 50-year-old proposal, but only in 2020, and its passage is now embroiled in a legal dispute.

Ninety-nine years ago another Equal Rights Amendment had been sent to sympathetic U.S. senators by activists of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement had only been achieved for women, and in reality, only for white women, after a struggle of many, many decades in 1920.

In both the case of suffrage and the case of an Equal Rights Amendment, only struggles by millions of women, including some strikes, demonstrations, arrests and beatings achieved a change in the laws that had said women were second-class citizens, inferior to men and subject to their whims.

What is the reality in 2022? Women earn, on average, 80 cents to every dollar men earn. Women are in lower-paid positions, minimum wage positions, more often than men.

Legislation to fund some protections against violence is stuck in the non-functioning Congress. Some men still think it is their right to beat or rape women.

In six out of seven counties throughout the United States, politicians prevent women from having health care that provides abortion. Maternal deaths are on the upsweep again, and the U.S. statistics match those of some third world countries.

In a 1972 education bill, women’s funding for sports at schools was supposed to equal men’s funding. Anyone with children or anyone opening their local paper to the sports section knows how fake that is.

The laws on the books are not the reality on the ground. Young women today have a lot to fight for.