Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Return of the old for a new ERA

Kara Lee

The topic of sex and gender in society has branched out every which way and people seem incapable — or unwilling — to move past the divide. Progressives vie for a cultural expansion of gender identity separated from sex, provoking a sharp increase in the revival of traditional philosophies and conservative policies. However, like a sick tree, once all the external factors have been considered and ruled out it is time to check the health of its roots and revisit and finalize the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). 

Activists Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman were fresh off a win granting women the right to vote when they proposed the revolutionary amendment to the constitution in 1923 to ensure that the “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Every year until 1970, the ERA was proposed in Congress until it was finally passed in March 1972. 

Future generations of women nationwide were expected to enjoy the full scope of freedoms the ERA set the stage to guarantee, like the right to an abortion, divorce or property ownership, laws against discrimination in employment and more. The sexual revolution of the late ‘60s and ’70s shifted cultural norms accordingly. Through unrelenting pressure from conservative activists like Phyllis Schlafly, the ERA failed to ratify by the deadline in June 1982 and cement its place in the constitution. 

Today, the consequences manifest as the liberty of states and the Supreme Court to pass bills and judgments around these issues as they suit them, such as the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Yet the culture and values of many have moved on without reflection in the law, creating a serious disconnect with rippling effects. As a result, debates around what laws should be passed refuse to concede to the common good and focus on propagating an impossible and irresponsible vision for everyone to achieve.

The most effective policies may be sparked by ideas, but find their stability in evidence and reality. The fact is, any ideas about the structure of gender and its roles cannot be justly supported without protections for women’s sex and unique bodily features and against discrimination on that basis. The sex differences do not mean differences in rights — they should mean rights protecting the autonomy of these differences. 

Women and men share the intellectual ability to manage their own legal, financial and domestic lives. It is absurd that we can comprehend that males have rights over their biology and protections over their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and can exercise these freedoms without detriment to the wellbeing of society, but the opposite is true for females. Ratifying the ERA is simply leveling the playing field by returning the natural rights of self-determination to women.  

Neutralizing the injustices based on sex still allows Americans to pursue their lives according to their personal beliefs about gender. It prevents any one group from obliging everyone to follow their beliefs through ideological policy. Neutralization most notably clears blockages in the medical field,  where sex differences are most prominent and important. 

The United States has never been a monolithic nation in thought, and the strength of its leadership in the world stems from its citizens’ ability to pursue different lives to the fullest. Reaching the three-fourths majority needed to ratify the ERA into the constitution builds another step in the ladder of rights toward the guiding, shining star of freedom for all.

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About the Contributors
Faith Kouadio
Faith Kouadio, Staff Writer

Faith (she/her) is a public health major with a minor in information systems. Despite choosing to pursue studies in these specific fields, she enjoys writing and communications and hopes to incorporate them as a key part of her career. She believes in an increasingly information-heavy world, everyone has a duty to responsibly disseminate information – contributing to the Paisano is her small way of accomplishing this.

If you ask Faith what movie she saw last night, she will have a new answer every time. Other than watching movies, she enjoys listening to and collecting music and traveling. Having grown up in the Toronto region, Texas is one stop from the many places she has called home. After her anticipated graduation in Spring 2024, she’s excited to see where life takes her next.

Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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