Arguments in Opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment (1973)

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An in-depth exploration of the world of women today with Sandra Elkin. 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 the ERA, and we'll find out why in just a moment. My guests are Phyllis Schlafly, the national chairman of STOP Equal Rights Amendment. Phyllis is a wife and mother of six children. My other guest is Geline Williams. Geline is a member of the Steering Committee of the Virginia Women Against the Equal Rights Amendment. Geline is also a wife and mother of five. Welcome to both of you, and thank you for coming. Thank you Sandy. Geline, to start us off on the right foot, would you read us the first section of the Equal Rights Amendment? Glad to. "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any 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 the state legislative hearings in 15 states and in not a single one of these hearings has a lawyer for the proponents claimed 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 Griffiths, who was the leading congressional sponsor of the
ERA, 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 it won't. Geline, you were speaking earlier about women in service-related employment. Yes, Sandra. I think that sometimes in the discussion about what the Equal Rights Amendment may do or not do, we overlook the fact that women in industry and the service industries may very well suffer under the Equal Rights Amendment. And I have a very worthwhile comment that was made by Jeanne Noble, the executive director of the National Council of Negro Women. And she said in regard to the Equal Rights Amendment, "I call it the 'lift and toting bill.'" More than half of the Black women who hold jobs work in the service industries, in service
occupations. If the ERA becomes law, they will be the ones lifting and toting. So that it will wipe away you feel protective legislation for women in employment? Yes, it will have that result... How exactly would it do that? ...of wiping out all the remaining protective legislation because no longer can you have any legislation that makes a difference between 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 workman's compensation to women than to men, 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, but the women who work in the industry

Arguments in Opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment (1973)

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first drafted in 1923, three years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. In 1972, the ERA easily passed Congress with large bipartisan support and seemed headed to full ratification by the states. In this clip, Phyllis Schlafly and conservative activist Geline B. Williams offer their arguments against the ratification of the ERA.

Woman; Equal Rights Amendment, Part 2 | WNED | November 29, 1973 This video clip and associated transcript appear from 01:05 - 05:33 in the full record.

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