Shirley Chisholm, the first African American congresswoman to be elected in the House of Representatives, gave a speech called “Equal Rights for Women,” in Washington D.C. on May 21, 1969 to the House of Representatives. A strong advocate for equal rights for women in the workplace, Chisholm began her speech saying, “When a young woman graduates from college and starts looking for a job, she is likely to have a frustrating and even demeaning experience ahead of her.” On March 22, 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by the US Senate.
Later in the mid 70s, a conservative backlash against feminism eroded support for the Equal Rights Amendment, which ultimately failed to achieve ratification by three-fourths, of the states.
Because of the rejection of the Equal Rights Amendment, sexual equality, with the notable exception of when it pertains to the right to vote, is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, in the late 20th century, the federal government and all states have passed considerable legislation protecting the legal rights of women. The Equal Rights Amendment, in its most recently proposed form, reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” #womenshistorymonth