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The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposal written in 1921 by Alice Paul who was the founder of the National Womans Party It was designed mainly to invalidate many state and federal laws that she felt discriminated against women its central underlying principle was that sex should not determine the legal rights of American men or women This proposed amendment to the US Constitution stated that Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex and also that the Congress shall have the power to enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article The amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1923 soon after women in the United States had been given the right to vote The US Senate finally approved it 49 years later in March 1972 It was then submitted to the state legislatures for ratification within seven years but despite a deadline extension to June 1982 was not ratified by the required majority votes from 38 states It would have become the 27th Amendment to the Constitution Even though the ERA gained ratification of 30 states within one year of its approval by the Senate escalating intense opposition from conservative religious and political organizations brought the ratification to a standstill The main objections to the ERA were based on fears that women would lose privileges and protections such as exemption from compulsory military service and combat duty and economic support from husbands for themselves and their children Among the opponents to the ERA was a woman by the name of Phyllis Schlafly a St Louisan known for her opposition to the womens liberation movement She earned a law degree from Washington University and earned a masters degree in political science from Harvard University She worked as a researcher for several Congressmen in Washington DC and ran
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