thumbnail of Woman; 107; Equal Rights Amendment, Part 2
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
A. I didn't get the women to do it with. Good evening and welcome to woman. The topic for this evening is the Equal Rights Amendment and both of my guests this evening are opposed to that and we'll find out why in just a moment.
My guests are fairly shy awfully. The national chairman of stop Equal Rights Amendment Phyllis is a wife and mother of six children. My other guest is Jolene Williams. Jolene is a member of the Steering Committee of the Virginia women against the Equal Rights Amendment. Julian is also a wife and mother of five. Welcome to both of you and thank you for coming. Thank you Sandy. Julian to start us off on the right foot which you read us the first section of the Equal Rights Amendment right to equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States are and state on account of sex. Now what is this going to do for us. Will we get equal pay for equal work. Well that's just the trouble Sandy. It isn't going to do anything good for women at all. And above all it's not going to do anything for women in the field of employment. I've been around to these state legislative hearings in 15 states and not a single one of these hearings has a lawyer for the probe on its
claim that the Equal Rights Amendment will do anything whatsoever for women in the field of employment. One of the reasons why this is so is the existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. This law is very specific in regard to hiring and pay and promotions. And if any woman thinks she's been discriminated against She can file her claim with the government. And the latest word is that the women are winning 19 out of 20 of these cases. So the Equal Rights Amendment will not do anything for women in the field of employment. In fact when I said that in a television debate with Congresswoman Martha Gryphus who was the leading congressional sponsor of the RIAA she said I never claimed it would. So I think that blows their whole argument for the Equal Rights Amendment. I'm stunned because that's what you hear all the time that this is what it will accomplish. Equal pay for equal work. Yes and that won't do us. You were speaking earlier about
women in service related employment. Yes Sandra Day. I think that sometimes and a discussion about what the Equal Rights Amendment may do or not do we overlook the fact that women in industry and service industries may very well suffer under the Equal Rights Amendment. And I have a very worthwhile comment that was made by Jean noble the executive director of the National Council of Negro Women. And she said in regard to the Equal Rights Amendment I called it that lift and total bill. More than half of the black women who hold jobs were in the service industries in service occupations. If the A becomes law they will be the ones lifting and. So that it will wipe away you feel protective legislation for women in employment. Yes it will have that result of wiping out all the remaining that tact of labor
legislation because no longer can you have any legislation that makes a difference between women women and men. And while women can compete equally in the professional or academic or intellectual jobs in the manual labor jobs women are just not as strong and they don't want to compete equally with a man. So the states have had a lot of laws which prevent a company from working a woman too many hours a day or too many days in the week. Laws which give more generous so workman's compensation to women than to man or which mandates certain rest areas and rest periods and these are all gone under the Equal Rights Amendment. Because you have to have absolute equality with the women who work in the IT industry and manual labor type jobs don't want to be treated like a man. They want to be treated like a woman. What it what about the effect on the family. Well as a child one of the areas where the Equal Rights Amendment would be
very very hurtful the Equal Rights Amendment will invalidate all the state laws that require the husband to support his why. Now these laws are basic to the to the marriage contract and to the rights of the Y. Just to give you one example of what these state laws say the Ohio law says the husband must support himself his wife and his minor children out of his property or by his labor. If he is unable to do so the wife must assist him so far as she is able. Therefore you see the primary responsibility falls on the shore shoulders of the husband for the financial support of the family. And this is what gives the wife her legal right to be a full time wife and mother in her home with her own babies. Now we are you why does this all add up because you can't have any legislation any longer under way that imposes an
obligation on the husband that doesn't support impose on the wife. And I we might illustrate that point. I have some very valid backing for this point of the rigidity of the application of the Equal Rights Amendment. If it is ratified the state of Pennsylvania and NAC did an Equal Rights Amendment to its own state constitution which is very similar in wording to what we just read as being the equal rights that proposed the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution and that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania just passed two rulings on the application of this new people rights amendment to its own state constitution and it as a result threw it all invalidated laws that. Fit the description that US was just giving us about the fact that there can be no law.
I mean the rights amendment which treats women different all man differently from the other they must bend laws must be let's say sex race and not refer to one sex or the other. They caught the Pennsylvania Superior Court rule. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual since chapter the section on eleven and forty six of forward rights and exclusively to females the rights of males in Pennsylvania are a bridge by the sections. So only because of they are saints. And the sections they are for Fall in light of the amendment. They go they get they caught goes on to say where in the Constitution the words are plain. They must be given their common or popular meaning. Far in that sense the voters are assumed to have understood them when they adopted the Constitution. In
the instant case the amendment specifically states that quote equality of rights on the law shall not be denied because of sex and no exception is made for rights in the area of domestic relations. And Sandra There's no indication that any exception may be made to the hard and rigid application of the Equal Rights Amendment. If it is ratified it's the only case I think you meant. Yes there is a Colorado case to where the husband was tried for nonsupport of his wife in the Kalar out of court under their state Equal Rights Amendment threw out the law and said this is discrimination because no longer can you have a law that requires the husband to support his wife. And this certainly is not what many women understood by E. R. A who naively supported the amendment. I believe these cases illustrate that the Equal Rights Amendment is a big take away of the rights that women now have their legal right to be
supported by their husband. All of the legal property rights that wives had which are superior to men and which they would lose under the Equal Rights Amendment. Another aspect is that most state laws require the husband to provide his wife with a home. Now the home is very important to women and but under the Equal Rights Amendment the women will lose this right. So it's a it's a big take away of the rights that women have. Give us some explanation of how women will lose the right of home. Well you see the Equal Rights Amendment will require the state legislature to go through its state laws and make them all sex neutral by eliminating the words husband wife male female man woman and replacing them with a sex neutral word like person or spouse. Now you see it isn't the same thing at all to say spouse must support spouse as it is to say husband love support. Why. And I would like to make a comment on that.
Point. How wives might lose through this rite of home and support. And that is remember this. The Equal Rights Amendment is means equal rights for both men and women. So once it's ratified men can say well I want my equal rights and I require that my wife support me on an equal basis. I also point out home and children and family on an equal basis with me. So in this way in the writing of equal rights by men you see. Many wives will be put in a very difficult economic position and to too although certainly many many men would not do this than many who would. And while we have to do is to Zam in the cases and in the record of men who have tried not to support their wives and children anyway and all it would take would be for one man to go into court to try to get out of his
obligations and then the court would hand down the ruling which applies to everybody. There is a very important article in the latest issue of the Drake law school journal which involved quite a study of the effect of the Equal Rights Amendment on the wife's property rights. And they've spell them out in the state after state because in most of the states women have superior property rights to two men. And this article concludes that if the Equal Rights Amendment is passed. It would minimize or eliminate these legal rights that women now possess and the result would be degradation of the homemaker role and the demand on the wife to go out of the home and seek some career outside of the home. Then you really see this has been very damaging to the family structure. Yes primarily because it damages this whole fabric of laws which give legal rights to the wives. Now what about children what about child custody of children and child support in this country. And
especially custody. Well most of the laws apply to ongoing marriages and so we're talking about. I've been talking about the right of the wife to be supported by her husband in an ongoing marriage. The case of divorce. You know the wife usually has the presumption of custody of her children. This is another thing that would be washed out by the Equal Rights Amendment. The courts would be compelled to award custody on some basis of equality. They might decide one child the one spouse and one to the other or they might do in their own discretion warded to award them to the husband or whatever but it would eliminate the presumption of custody that the wife now has. So this is these are some of the reasons why we say any way you slice it or any way the courts rule. It's going to be a lessening of the rights that women have today. This is why our Professor Philip Courland of the Chicago University Law School told our
legislature that the whole thing is misrepresented as a women's rights amendment and fact the principal beneficiaries will not be women at all. I wonder. Well we also every now and then hear of it being referred to as the equal responsibilities. I've heard that amendment and. I think that the additional responsibilities additional to that I find responsibilities that women already carry that get up says well this may not only give them the home but also they must establish somehow an equal economic equality in order to survive and their families survive to that their husband can reply and this the now they can choose to work. We can choose to work at home have a combination of this. But it certainly appears that the Equal Rights Amendment would increase. The influence and their need for all women to work and be
able and ready to support themselves if they have to. Well the woman today really has freedom of choice. She has the legal right to be a full time wife and mother or she has the legal right to go into the workforce on the basis of equal pay for equal work under the legislation on the books now to pass the Equal Rights Amendment eliminates this one alternative that she has today which is her legal right to be a full time wife and mother. And I think you can't change the fact that women have the babies there's no way to make that equal. And I believe it's only right and fair that the man should have the primary obligation of financial support. So it would we would lose our choice you feel we would lose the freedom of choice yes. There's another thing that the opponents say that that they say that the people who are against the Equal Rights Amendment are talking nonsense when they talk about the draft. Oh well the draft is one of the direct and immediate
results of the Equal Rights Amendment and there's really no dispute about this fact. The Equal Rights Amendment would require women to be drafted on absolutely the same basis with man. That is if we have a national emergency we are confronted with this social upheaval of having to draft women for the first time in our history. And you couldn't say that women would have all the easy desk jobs and the men would have the fighting jobs. The proponents have made it very clear and all the scholarly articles have made it clear that women would have to be assigned indiscriminately in combat on warships carrying the same 40 to 50 pound packs and all the rest. I would like to. I remember in connection with what you just said. Now as that I heard Admiral zoom off speak a few months back he is chief of naval operations and he said that how the Navy is Nang plans now to put women on combatant
ships. As soon as the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified that I have to the full rights amendment is ratified and this will throw out the law just like the Pennsylvania judges threw out those laws. This will throw out the law that. Prohibits the assignment of women into combat and ships in the US Navy. But he said that as soon as the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified that women will be put into combat and ships. I don't know if you've ever been in a submarine and. Are in an engine room of a nuclear power plant operating one of the big navy vessels. But it does give you an idea of what we're talking about. The possibilities for women and. And any well enough a overwhelming majority of American men and women do not think women should be drafted. Is that true as yes you let me Elmo Roper poll and every other poll indicates
that there are small minority of people who think they should be but then to them I would say go do it in the above board way. Propose an amendment to the Selective Service Act and try to get it through Congress. So let everybody would know what you're doing. Don't sneak it in sort of tissue sleeve through the back door when people don't really realize that this is the result of the equal rights of men. And I agree with fetish that I think we must realize that any of these things that we're talking back that if there is an overwhelming desire to assign women to Army on navy forces duty we can do this by law now through the enactment of the law. But it so happens that the majority of the people do not wish this so we have laws that do not cry that women do not assign them to combat post. That's by choice but the Equal Rights Amendment apparently would. Negate and eliminate that charge. And if the National Emergency calls for drafting fathers as it did during World War
Two when fathers were drafted up through age 35 then mothers would have to be drafted on the same basis. And this this is what the proponents say they want at the Virginia herring. Recently one of the proponents was asked Well couldn't the women be given the easier jobs and she said oh no that would deprive women of their opportunities and their equal rights to win a congressional medal of honor. Well now most Congressional Medal of Honor winners are dead and of course women don't have the right to be a prisoner of war or fight in the jungle combat in Vietnam and all that sort of thing but we don't think this is discriminating against us this is the way we like it and this is the way most men and women want it. I do think most people don't understand this. They don't understand that this is an immediate effect of the Rights Amendment. Newsweek magazine said this week that people are saying around Washington that we will have a draft again after the next elections because the volunteer
military is not working out. Now I don't want the draft any more than anybody else but I like to get rid of war. But history tells us we're going to have wars but we can lift that burden from our young girls. There's another area that perhaps we should get into. How is the Equal Rights Amendment going to affect court rulings that affect women. Well in the opinion of many legal authorities it is going to transform every issue to do with women into a constitutional issue ultimately to be resolved by the Supreme Court. And I think this would be the effect of section 2 of the Equal Rights Amendment. Section 2 is a grab for power at the federal level when it we have to mean read Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce appropriate legislation. The provisions of this article.
Well what this will do in the opinion of the legal experts who study this is to take large areas of jurisdiction out of the hands of the state legislatures and put it into the hands of the federal government the bureaucrats and of course the courts. And this means everything to do with domestic relations and married should divorce child custody and at whatever time it has to do with the women's rights. Now most of us are rather distressed with the great powers that have gone into the federal government and how does this benefit us to move these areas into the federal government and take them out of the hands of the state legislatures. Oh which is the body of our government closest to the people. Where if we don't like a piece of legislation we can take it up with somebody we know from our own district. How do you have an answer. Well it know what the answer is it does not benefit women and Section 2 is a big grab for power at the federal level. I think this is the reason
why we find so many pay rollers working for the federal government and receiving federal government salaries who are lobbying in behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. They're doing this not only at the federal level but also at the state level. Some of these employees of the status of women councils have their own executives funded by federal money and then they operate as a lobbyist in behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. So in other words the proponents are able to push this through at the taxpayers expense and that's what that's how they're being funded you feel. Yeah that's one of the principal way is that they have this are able to fund their efforts because the services of a full time lobbyist at the state legislative level whose salary is paid by the federal government and who has an office and stationery and telephone and to work in this
behalf. It is it is one of the reasons why the Equal Rights Amendment has passed as many states as you mention another reason earlier. Do you recall. Why it's passed so quickly so many states. Well another reason those I haven't debated it. Well I agree with that I think the absence of debate is a principal reason that there has been such a fast bandwagon type action on the Equal Rights Amendment. For example the Senate I believe the final action in Congress on the Equal Rights Amendment was in March of 1970 to the floor 24 hours were passed I think it did state of Hawaii had ratified the amendment. And certainly it could not have had a debate it could not have studied it at the state level at all at the local level and and from there on 22 states just one I have to the ratified the Equal Rights Amendment with very little attention to it at all.
And then and I so I think that the absence of a debate is a very big point there but I also think that we ought to realize that some of the organizations that have been listed in support of the way have taken the action in some cases by executive. Action that is a small group of people making the decision and then local affiliates taking the same stand without really any extent certainly no extensive debate this subject. Then in Virginia I notice that when a list was published of their support as they often ization supporting the Equal Rights Amendment that there are a number of multiple listings of the same organization by listing local chapters and local affiliates and then this thing the state group also and then two in Virginia for example that one of the Albeniz ations wanted to state on its ations that it is
opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment. Has a membership much larger than the total membership of all of those listed in support of the Equal Rights Amendment so I think that recognizing the sincerity of those who support the amendment we should should bring the support into proper focus and perspective. What are some of the organizations that. Against the Equal Rights and well the largest one is the National Council of Catholic women which has 11 million members. And again as you said Delaine it has a membership larger than all the Argos ations and all those women's organizations supporting it put together. I just had a national convention of the National Council of Catholic women a few weeks ago and they overwhelmingly reaffirmed their opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. Then of course in 1973
20 state legislatures rejected the Equal Rights Amendment. This is a great body of opinion of of political office holders who are close to the wishes of the people and who did study the amendment and hold hearings and that they rejected it one way or another. Some on the floor of the House or Senate some by committee. Nebraska which was one of the early states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 1973 rescinded its previous action by an overwhelming vote. And so this is a great body of opinion that cuts across every other group. You know the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment has nothing to do with you or your political party or ideology. Your age your marital status your color girl religion. It's a complete across the board body of opinion which thinks that this is the most
ridiculous waterhead unnecessary harmful piece of legislation that has come our way a long time. And one final question in the one minute we have left that the people who are against the Equal Rights Amendment claim that there are many legitimate cases of discrimination against women which are not very cleverly covered by our legal system. What about those. Well if there's an easy answer to that the best way to go is by state legislation as congresswoman who's been in Congress for 20 years and who voted against the Equal Rights Amendment said What's the matter with the women in any state who allowed discriminatory laws to remain on the books. The women of our state don't have any. And that's just this year the women of Illinois passed that removed small pieces of discrimination that they felt should be taken care of. These laws go into effect immediately but they don't hurt the rights that women already have.
Episode Number
Equal Rights Amendment, Part 2
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
WNED (Buffalo, New York)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/81-021c5bwq).
Episode Description
This episode features a conversation with Phyllis Schlafly and Geline B. Williams. Schlafly is an attorney and a conservative activist known for her opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. She is the National Chairman of "Stop Equal Rights Amendment." She is a wife and the mother of six children. Williams is also a conservative activist and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Virginia Women Against the Equal Rights Amendment. She is a wife, mother of 5 children.
Series Description
Woman is a talk show featuring in-depth conversations exploring issues affecting the lives of women.
Created Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Social Issues
No copyright statement in content.
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Director: George, Will
Guest: Schlafly, Phyllis
Guest: Williams, Geline B.
Host: Elkin, Sandra
Producer: Elkin, Sandra
Producing Organization: WNED
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: WNED 04283 (WNED-TV)
Format: DVCPRO
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:28:50
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Woman; 107; Equal Rights Amendment, Part 2,” 1973-12-06, WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 29, 2022,
MLA: “Woman; 107; Equal Rights Amendment, Part 2.” 1973-12-06. WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 29, 2022. <>.
APA: Woman; 107; Equal Rights Amendment, Part 2. Boston, MA: WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from
Supplemental Materials