Equal rights amendment forum highlights women’s week at UNO

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Jimmy Carroll
CONTRIBUTOR 

Guests attend a women in public policy forum as part of Women and Public Policy Week. Photo courtesy of UNO Communications

March is Women’s History Month, and UNO hosted Women and Public Policy Week from March 2-8. Women’s History Month first started in 1987, and International Women’s Day is celebrated March 8.

The College of Public Affairs and Community Service held a human rights forum which featured a discussion about the Equal Rights Amendment. The Goldstein Center Human Rights Forum hosted the event and brought in two panelists to advocate the importance of equal rights for women.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” according to the US Constitution.

This event came in the wake of Virginia ratifying the amendment, becoming the 38th state to do so on Monday, Jan. 27. Twelve more states have yet to partake in the ratification process.

Moderator Jody Neathery-Castro, professor of political science, said the event was important for those who wanted a historical background on crime, law and justice.

“The legal standing of the ratification process and what that means going forward is crucial,” Neathery-Castro said.

Sharon Wood, Ph.D., assistant professor of American social history, gender and material culture, was one of the two panelists. She said one of the most interesting questions from the forum was “how is it possible for a state to rescind its ratification since it has only ever happened with the Equal Rights Amendment?”

“The ERA’s deadline was actually extended at one point, but does the deadline actually have any meaning?” Wood said.

Wood said it’s helpful for students to gain perspective on how the Constitution works.

“Equal Rights is important because we all deserve equal rights,” she said.

Nebraska was among one of the first states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, but one year later decided to rescind it and were the first state in the history of this country to do so. Wood mentioned that we did not think “rescinding it was a real thing.”

Political and legal changes to the ratification process must be resolved before the Equal Rights Amendment can be certified as part of Constitution.

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