Face Off: Gloria Steinem and Her Battle for ERA Ratification
When Gloria Steinem asked First Lady Patricia Nixon, during an interview, what she identified with other than her daughters and husband, Mrs. Nixon snapped back, "I never had time to think about things like that – who I wanted to be, or what I admired, or to have ideas. I never had time to dream about being anyone else. I don't have time to worry about who I admire or who I identify with. I've never had it that easy. I'm not like all of you … all those people that had it so easy." Gloria Steinem made it her life's work to assure all future generations of women that they would have it easy enough to consider who they admired, who they identified with, and especially what they wanted to be. For a long time, she believed strongly that this could be achieved with the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and she fought strenuously for its passage.
This paper discusses who Gloria Steinem was, what she meant to the Women's Movement and the crusade to pass the ERA. Moreover, it chronicles the history of the ERA. This paper outlines what Steinem believed about gender discrimination, and why the ERA would resolve this injustice. Consequently, this paper explores many of the intellectual and often emotional arguments made by Steinem and her colleagues to gain ratification of the ERA as well as those made by the opposition. Finally, this paper examines the most contentious issues during the ratification process, specifically, the bathroom issue, the military issue, and the labor issue.
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