ERA Survey

The ERA Campaign Network

A nationwide network of people working to achieve
the addition of the Equal Rights Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Web site: www.ERACampaign.net

Telephone: 609-799-0378

Fax: 609-275-3810

Address: 4 Canoe Brook Drive, Princeton Junction NJ 08550

A member of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO)

A nationwide survey shows that Americans want
a Constitutional guarantee of equal rights for women.

Introduction: Seeing the need for valid and reliable information on the views of the American people on equal rights for men and women, and on a potential Constitutional guarantee of those rights, the ERA Campaign Network, in 2001, commissioned a nationwide survey on those subjects. The survey was conducted for the ERA Campaign Network by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) CARAVAN Services in July 2001. It involved telephone interviews among a national probability sample of 1,002 adults, comprising 500 men and 502 women, 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. ORC’s CARAVAN surveys are conducted using the most advanced and reliable methodologies and technologies available. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent for the sample as a whole, and plus or minus 4 percent for statistics based only on men or only on women, at the 95 percent confidence level. Note: Opinion Research Corporation, headquartered with its parent corporation ORC International in Princeton, New Jersey, has been known and respected for its high quality opinion and attitude research since its founding in 1938.

Findings: Overwhelmingly, Americans agree that male and female citizens should have equal rights, and the vast majority of Americans want those rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. Most, however, mistakenly assume that the Constitution already guarantees those rights. Eighty-eight percent want the Equal Rights Amendment adopted into the U.S. Constitution. This is in contrast to the 61 percent during the earlier ERA movement of 1972-1982, when 35 of the 38 required states did ratify it. Seventy-two percent now actually believe that ERA has already been adopted. Overall, 96 percent now believe that women and men should have equal rights. Those overall findings held true for both men and women, and for all the other demographic categories examined, by region, age, education, household income, race, and household makeup. Following are all the actual questions asked, with the tables showing the distribution of responses for the survey respondents as a whole, and for men and women separately. In those instances in which there are statistically significant differences in the responses of men vs. women, that is so indicated. (If not indicated, any observed differences are not statistically significant.)

1. “In your opinion, should male and female citizens of the United States have equal rights?”

Responses Total Men

Women

Yes 96% 95% 97%
No 3% 4% 2%
Don’t Know 1% 1% 1%
In all demographic categories studied, between 93 percent and 99 percent agree that male and female citizens should have equal rights.

2. “As far as you know, does the Constitution of the United States make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?”

Responses Total Men Women
Yes 72% 62% 69%
No 18% 16% 21%
Don’t Know 10% 99% 10%%
* Statistically significant difference between men and women: Somewhat more women than men are aware that the Constitution does not make it clear.
In all other demographic categories studied, between 60 percent and 80 percent think the Constitution makes it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights, while only between 13 percent and 25 percent think it does not. Younger people are somewhat more knowledgeable than older people in this regard: 22 percent of those in the 18-34 age range are aware that the Constitution does not make it clear, while only 15 percent of those 55 and up are aware – a statistically significant difference.

3. “In your opinion, should the Constitution make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?”

Responses Total
Men
Women
YES 88%
85%*
91%*
NO 9%
11%*
6%*
Don’t know
3%
4%
3%
* Statistically significant differences between men and women: Somewhat more women than men believe the Constitution should make it clear.
In all other demographic categories studied, between 83 percent and 94 percent believe the Constitution should make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights.
Additional information:
For additional information on the survey, or on the current campaign to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution as soon as possible, check the ERA Campaign Network website, www.ERACampaign.net, and/or contact National Coordinator Dr. Jennifer S. Macleod, e-mail ERACampaign@aol.com, telephone 609-799-0378, address 4 Canoe Brook Drive, Princeton Junction NJ 08550. Requests to be added to the distribution list for the free e-mail newsletter, The ERA Campaigner, are welcomed.

For Legislators and Interested Others, here are answers to most of your questions about ERA

The body of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

It is not about abortion or same-sex anything. The Equal Rights Amendment purely reflects the fundamental moral American value of equality for all regardless of gender.

National and Congressional legal teams, working with Equal Rights Alliance in Florida, have determined that effects of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would not upset the economic, legal, religious, moral or social balance of the nation. It would enhance human relations, improve the economy and simplify the work of the courts.

Generally, the ERA:

  • Is beneficial to the public and the economy, and was never declared “dead” (See 1921 Supreme Court decisions Dillon v. Gloss and its 1939 decision in Coleman v. Miller, and its Oct. 4, 1982 refusal to declare ERA dead). Many substantive legal arguments support opinion that ERA continues to be “viable and contemporaneous”. The ERA has already been vetted and voted for in nearly 75% of the United States. Several states, including Florida and Arkansas, have filed ratification bills. It is the responsibility of the legislatures to vote only on the words of the ERA as voted out by Congress in 1972.
  • Is not a special entitlement, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is not scandalous and outweighs any “unintended consequences” imagined by any special interest group. The fact is that the ERA is Win-Win for all.
  • Is still “viable and contemporaneous” based on past precedent and lack of rescissions.
  • Embodies the only secure guarantee of equal treatment for both sexes. Neither the 14th Amendment nor current laws reliably ensure that basic American precept.
  • Is a bill whose wording has never and can never be amended or changed in any way since Congress sent it to the states for ratification by their legislatures. You would co-sponsor and vote for the same wording that you see now at the top of this page.
  • Acts only to buttress laws, ordinances, statutes, and amendments in state constitutions that are overlooked, ignored, or misinterpreted now (Equal Pay Act, 1963). ERA does not make new law.
  • Costs the state of Virginia nothing, and would give Virginia an image of a progressive state, with justice for all, and full of business opportunities.
  • Positively impacts Virginia’s bottom line as tax revenues should increase while public assistance and court costs decrease, while requiring no funding—one of the few such bills.
  • Does not affect reasonable distinctions related to sex based or sensible concerns for hygiene, safety, or modesty in schools, prisons, hospitals, or private clubs, etc.
  • Despite special interest nay sayers, the ERA does not regulate: (1) same-sex anything, (2) abortion, nor payment for such services, (3) women in combat or in the draft, (4) unisex restrooms, (5) Social Security payments, nor (6) men’s sports. Despite claims by special interest groups, ERA language is purely neutral on any intent other than equality for all regardless of gender. The 22 states, which have existing ERA language in their constitutions, have not seen an explosion of abortions. In fact, these states report statistically fewer abortion procedures than those states that do not have a state ERA.
  • Has been codified in every other nation’s charter or constitution since WWII (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg). If our brave military women serve, they deserve to be named in the U.S. Constitution, as are men. Both men and women are deprived of sex discrimination protections in the U.S. Constitution. It is the nation’s contract with its people. If you are not named, you are not a party to that contract. Until ERA is passed, the only incontestable right of American women is the right to vote. They had to get that for themselves over decades.
  • Provides relief to women and men who have to pay to petition courts over and over again for rights to which the other sex is already entitled. No one should have to go to court repeatedly to claim what should be their birth right. Taxpayers and the courts are relieved of the burden of large numbers of court cases and repeated costs.
  • Promotes court reviews of sex discrimination cases using Strict Scrutiny, just as is now the case with race, religion and national origin, rather than the current Intermediate Scrutiny. This enhances the courts’ effectiveness as well as the dispensation of justice. Both sexes would be treated equally, as fully responsible human beings with self-determination.
  • Fulfills wishes by the courts for clarification and direction by a reliable basis of review for sex discrimination cases. (Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Ginsburg)
  • Has a markedly positive sociological effect wherever sexual equality is the standard. Studies show that: (1) rates of emotional depression decline, (2) divorce rates decline, families stabilize, (3) marital harmony increases, (4) communities gain cohesiveness, (5) economies grow (UN; Norway/ Sweden report).
  • ERA would equalize justice for both genders. Although females experience sex discrimination/harassment more often and more egregiously, men experience it, too. Men filed more cases with EEOC last year. Frequent unjust child custody and support awards before traditional courts, consensual teen sex adjudications, male name changing, the draft, child immigration and other inequities point to a male’s need for an ERA, too. As the ERA benefits men and women, it also promotes Family Values.
  • Had strong support in a public survey taken in the United States by the Opinion Research Corporation for the ERA Campaign Network. It found that 96% of all respondents said everyone should have equal rights in this country.

**And, unlike other bills to cross your desk, NO FUNDING IS REQUIRED for ratifying ERA. Needed more than ever, ERA just makes good sense, don’t you think?

Wouldn’t it be wise to embrace the benefits of a ratified Equal Rights Amendment, and cease holding nearly three-quarters of the States hostage? The previous thirty- five state ratifications are still constitutionally viable. In fact, the State of North Dakota has recently RE-ratified to show determination for equality. By ratifying the ERA, you could make history and gain the applause of voters. Besides, ISN’T IT PATRIOTIC TO VOTE FOR EQUALITY? ISN’T EQUALITY A DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLE?