Women rally for rights, equality

In the midst of a Tallahassee sunset on Monday, women from around the state of Florida -and the male supporters of their cause- rallied legislators, community members and representatives of women’s and civil rights groups to ensure equal rights for all Americans.

The second annual Ratification Rally, sponsored by the Florida National Organization for Women, took place on the west steps of the Capitol. The rally ended a day of lobbying at the Capitol by the Florida Women’s Consortium, a group comprised of 26 organizations throughout the state representing about 250,000 women. All of the people present for the rally wanted to show their support for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

“The Equal Rights Amendment is extremely important because it will ensure that women have the same rights in this country as men,” said Sue Banks, a member of the Florida Women’s Consortium. “There have been laws passed to help further the cause of equal rights, but these laws can be erased with new legislation and the stroke of a pen. We want the rights of women everywhere guaranteed in the constitution!”

In order for the Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the U. S. Constitution, 38 states have to ratify the legislation.

If the Florida Women’s Consortium’s efforts are successful, Florida will become the 36th state to ratify the amendment which, if enacted, would ensure that “equality of rights under the law [would] not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

“It is extremely important that we break with the status quo and pass the Equal Rights Amendment so that we have constitutional standing and ensure that the rights of women will no longer be chipped away,” said Nancy Lee Hurlbert, president of the National Association of Business and Professional Women.

The push for an Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to the U.S. Congress in 1923 and gained publicity and support in the 1970s. The sentiment of the Ratification Rally was that the United States and its people have entered an “Estrogen Era” where women are head their families, businesses, and in other important decision making positions.

“The issue of equal rights, equal pay and equal justice is not just a women’s issue it’s also a family issue,” said Louise Miller a member of the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women. “There are so many single mothers providing for their families and in the workplace . They deserve an equal wage for doing the same amount of work as their male counterparts.”

With the motto: “We Can Do It!” visible on the buttons worn by all attendees, everyone at the rally supported the idea that equal rights for all Americans is important for ensuring a fair democracy and supporters of the legislation stressed the importance of how the new prominent role of women in society will aid their cause and help them get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.

contact malcolm glover at malcolm2001g@hotmail.com.