March 22, 1972–March 22, 1979

After the amendment’s reintroduction to Congress in 1971, the US Senate approves the ERA and Hawaii becomes the first state to ratify it. Thirty-five states join Hawaii in ratifying the amendment through 1977, with California ratifying it on November 13, 1972. However, prior to the ratification deadline of March 22, 1979, five state legislatures vote to rescind their ratifications, due to ERA opposition from conservative lawyer Phyllis Schlafly and labor feminists concerned about the elimination of protections for women in labor law.


Phyllis Schafly wearing a “Stop ERA” badge, demonstrating with other women against the Equal Rights Amendment in front of the White House, Washington, D.C. Photo: Warren K. Leffler.