By Cynthia Richie Terrell on January 13, 2018
Hello from Budapest!
I wasn't planning on posting but I was reminded that Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885 - she was an eighth-generation Quaker, who graduated from Swarthmore College and wrote the still-unratified Equal Rights Amendment:
Freedom from legal sex discrimination, Alice Paul believed, required an Equal Rights Amendment that affirmed the equal application of the Constitution to all citizens. In 1923, in Seneca Falls for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Woman's Rights Convention, she introduced the "Lucretia Mott Amendment," which read: "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction." The amendment was introduced in every session of Congress until it passed in reworded form in 1972.
Although the National Woman's Party and professional women such as Amelia Earhart supported the amendment, reformers who had worked for protective labor laws that treated women differently from men were afraid that the ERA would wipe out the progress they had made.
In the early 1940s, the Republican Party and then the Democratic Party added support of the Equal Rights Amendment to their platforms. Alice Paul rewrote the ERA in 1943 to what is now called the "Alice Paul Amendment," reflecting the 15th and the 19th Amendments: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." But the labor movement was still committed to protective workplace laws, and social conservatives considered equal rights for women a threat to the existing power structure...
While I cannot claim a direct lineage from Paul - she was from another branch of Quakerism - I do hope to contribute to her legacy of working for equality - as we all must.