in Support of the Equal Rights Amendment
September 28, 1945 — Subcommittee of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Washington DC
There is very little new in the way of argument that can be brought to this committee for the equal-rights amendment.
We have appeared again, and again and again, urging its passage. You know the many reasons for the amendment. But I think we can. bring you new evidence of a rising tide of public opinion, a demand that this amendment be passed without delay, without all this waste of time and energy, and all the repetition of campaigns, over and over again, saying words that were just as true when the amendment was introduced in 1923 as now, that were just as true when the National Woman’s Party declared them, here in this room, at the first hearing. We then stood alone. Now there are more than 32 national organizations standing with us, and now there are more than 500 State and important local organizations standing with us, but the principle hasn’t changed. It was just as right then as it is today.
I come to bring you evidence, if you need it, of this great risings tide of sentiment for the equal-rights amendment which I have found all over the West. I spent 5 weeks attending the United Nations Conference in San Francisco and working with those delegates who stood for the equality principles which Alice Morgan Wright and others have referred to here. I then stopped in Nevada, in Utah, in Wyoming, and New Mexico, and I again found what we found in the suffrage fight, that women of the West think in terms of equality. There is a strong sentiment there for the writing of this principle into the United States Constitution.
Wyoming, as many of you know, refused to come into the Union unless its women could keep the right to vote. And in Santa Fe I looked over a copy of the first constitution when statehood was granted, and many of the first provisions of that first constitution of New Mexico* contained equality clauses for women.
Equal rights in the Constitution is a right principle. We have been waging a long educational campaign for this. It is 25 years ago that the woman suffrage amendment was ratified and became a part of the Constitution. Since then, State by State, women have been slowly- changing laws. It is time the principle were accepted in our national Constitution.
Where is the opposition to woman suffrage today? Where are the people who feared it? The same thing will happen to the opposition to the equal-rights amendment. The fears will vanish.
It was Walt Whitman who said these lines which I think are so true of our movement today. He wrote:
Of equality as if it harmed me, giving others the same chances and right as myself,
As if it were not indispensable to my own rights, that others possess the same.
Gentlemen, the world thinks that we in America have equal rights. It was a woman from far eastern Europe who said to me last year: “I would not dare to tell the women of my country that in your country women do not have equal rights. They would lose hope and faith in the leadership of America.”
We ask one thing of you, and it is a thing which you have done before. In the last Congress the subcommittee and the full committee of the Senate Judiciary, by an overwhelming vote, reported favorably the equal-rights amendment.
We ask not only that you do it again, but that you do it promptly, so that victory for the equal-rights amendment will be assured in this present Congress.
Source: Hearing Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 79th Congress, 1st Session, on S.J. Res. 61, a Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Relative to Equal Rights for Men and Women.