The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and had some support in the following decades. In the 1960s, passage of the ERA became a major cause of women’s rights activists. In 1971, the ERA passed both houses of Congress and was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. By 1977, 35 of the necessary 38 states had ratified the amendment. In 1978, despite growing opposition to the amendment, Congress extended the 1979 deadline for ratification to 1982. There were no more state ratifications during the extension period and the ERA continues to be an unfinished issue for women’s rights activists. Nevada ratified the amendment in March 2017 and Illinois did so in May 2018. This lesson introduces students to the Equal Rights Amendment, the ratification process of the United States Constitution, and debates over equality under the law.
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Check out more free resources in the following Share My Lesson collections: 19th Amendment: Free Resources on Women's Suffrage and Constitution Day.