Why Men Need to Stand up for the Equal Rights Amendment

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Looking at the events and purpose of the day, I now propose we men take a sensible step back from the underarm-applied testosterone supplement bathroom mirror world view of our receding hairlines to reflect on some still unfinished business. In this country, we need a renewed push for the still unenacted Equal Rights Amendment.

Around a third of a century ago, America failed to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing that more than half the population ought to have equality enshrined in what we do. A female Fifth Columnist of the day, Eagle Forum doyenne Phyllis Schlafly, led shrill warnings of the perils of same-sex potties and other fabled nonsense,  to the cheers of pot-bellied conservative politicians who were “carrying it bit high.” Aged 88, Ms. Schlafly is still kicking now and again at last report.

Equal Rights AmendmentA few decades later, advances in workplace equality have occurred, but too little, too late. The first legislation signed into law by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. While Ledbetter was important protection for women shortchanged in the workplace, it remains a fraction of the work that still needs to get done. Until we have gender equality, America will never truly be the Land of the Free.

The scourge of domestic violence still afflicts nationwide. Women still are at an economic and occupational disadvantage, too often leaving them stranded at peril in toxic, dysfunctional relationships. For all the hue and cry over “the family,”  backward clerics and conservative pols aid and abet longstanding wrongs afflicting households and workplaces.

I am a retired naval officer. I can remember the years following the debacle in Vietnam when we felt less popular than a wounded pit bull with AIDS. The treatment and opportunity afforded women serving in uniform have improved in succeeding decades, but still falls far short of equality. Dishonor and disgrace. We can and must do better as a nation.

Health care remains separate and unequal. The G.O.P.-controlled House of Representatives, as well as their farm team counterparts in state legislatures, despite being elected on a platform of vaporware “jobs, jobs, jobs,”  remain preoccupied doing a number on critical aspects of women’s health. Imagine if Erectile Dysfunction therapies faced the same stiff resistance as Planned Parenthood?

Now, more than ever, we need a renewed push on finally enacting the Equal Rights Amendment. What are we afraid of?

Boys, women could get scarce! Marcus Bachmann probably has “counseling” sessions available, though.