Article originally published in the Daily Comet
By Kim Bartenfelder and Robert Weiner
The USA women's World Cup soccer victory is proof that alive and well in the worst ways is an ongoing surge of gender discrimination. Their case for equal pay is strong, but only the latest.
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The biggest gender inequality, wage gap and many of the lowest-paying positions experienced in the nation are by the women of Louisiana. Confirmed by reports in USA Today in 2018, CBS and Forbes Magazine in 2019, Louisiana consistently falls at the bottom of all 50 states. The National Partnership for Women and Families in May 2019 reported that Louisiana women earn 69 cents for every dollar a man earns. The national difference in 2019 between male and female incomes was a median wage gap of $10,169. They also reported in 2017 the median annual income of Louisiana women at $33,832 while men earned $49,730, a difference of $15,898.
In mid-May, presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced a proposal to eliminate the wage gap. However, equal pay is the springboard for larger discussion full equality under the law for women.
This is where the Equal Rights Amendment comes in. It's time to re-launch the campaign for the full ERA.
On the first night of the Democratic presidential debates, Julian Castro supported ERA passage and got cheers.
After the 19th Amendment was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified in 1920, the ERA was first introduced to Congress in 1923. However, Congress did not pass the ERA until 1972 -- nearly 50 years later.
The Congressional Research Service in 2018 reported that the ERA is caught in a web of legal confusion. The original proposal stated a seven-year deadline for ratification of, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Thirty-five of the needed 38 states ratified.
The ERA is needed now more than ever because women do not have full equality. The ERA ensures it.
The assumption that gender equality exists is a failure of the American legal system.
However, as much as it would be a pleasure to solely blame the patriarchy for gender inequality, we cannot. A STOP ERA figure was Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist pushing for the retention of women's rights in the home and no further.
More recently with abortion legislation in Alabama, it was female Gov. Kay Ivey who signed off. These women are why only blaming men is not a solution to female equality.
According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a report card based on female Employment & Earnings, Political Participation, Poverty & Opportunity, Reproductive Rights, Health & Well-Being, Work & Family, is given to each state. From each category in 2015, most of the country fell around "C". Louisiana however, fell far behind "C" in all criteria -- "D" in four out of the six, failing one altogether.
Furthermore, gender discrimination happens regularly.
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