The US Equal Rights Amendment 1972–1978


Map Code: Ax01369

The US Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment on 22 March 1972 (‘Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex’). There was a seven-year deadline on the ratification process, with approval of three-fourths (38) of the 50 states required. In 1972, 22 of the required 38 states ratified, followed by eight ratifications in 1973, and four between 1973–77. The chances of victory were fading as the 1979 deadline approached, with some states deliberately postponing voting on the ratification bills. Some states, such as Illinois, changed the approval conditions for ratification, requiring a three-fifths, rather than a simple, majority. The states that had not ratified by 1977 were Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. The ratification deadline was extended to 1982 after Congress bowed to public pressure.

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