100 Years Ago She Asked Congress To Agree To One Sentence. They Said No.
100 years later, it's still no. Here's the exact sentence she asked them to agree to. I don't understand why they said no. Do you?
100 years is a long time.
In 1923, the Model T was the most popular car and prohibition was the least popular law. Time Magazine published their first magazine, and Roy and Walt extablished Disney as a company. It’s the year the Hollywood sign first went up.
That was the year Alice Paul asked congress to agree to one sentence. Women had just gotten the vote 3 years earlier. But it wasn’t enough. She wanted one specific sentence added to the constitution.
Here’s the exact sentence.
“Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.”
Can you please tell me what’s wrong with that sentence?
Because I truly don’t know. Seems reasonable to me.
All I know is the answer was no.
It was “no” 100 years ago, and it’s still no today. It finally passed congress in 1972, five years before she died at age 92. But it was never ratified. Not then, and not now.
I don’t get it. Do you?
What is wrong with saying men and women shall have equal rights?
Basically, her parents lied to her
Alice was raised in a Quaker family who believed in gender equality, and education for women. Unlike many girls, she went to school instead of wife training. The school she attended was founded by her grandfather, so of course she did.
But then she grew up and realized she wasn’t equal.
When she was 24, she was forcibly strip searched by male prison guards because she fought so hard the women guards couldn’t get her clothes off her. It made the news. Shockingly inappropriate, they called it.
When she refused to eat, she was force fed so violently they did permanent gastric damage that would cause pain for the rest of her life. She had to be carried from prison straight to the hospital.
Know what her crime was? She wanted to vote.
Think about that if you stay home on election day.
And they won that first fight. Women got the vote in 1920. But while she was fighting for the right to vote, she was also getting a law degree. Because voting wasn’t enough. She wanted the constitution to say women are equal.
She wrote the proposed amendement herself.
All she wanted was for the constitution to say men and women are equal.
She presented it 100 years ago. In 1923.
They said no.
Today, the answer is still no.
We need to stop lying to our daughters
Today, “feminism” is a bad word. According to Pew Research, most people believe equality is important, even if they don’t “identify” as feminists.
According to Ipsos, less than 1/3 of women identify as a feminist. 41% of Americans said there’s “no difference” between genders and 6% said that women actually have an “easier” time than men.
Here’s what “no difference” between the genders looks like. #sarcasm
Every two minutes, a woman is raped in America.
Domestic violence costs 37 billion per year just in law enforcement.
Only 29% of American households exist on a man’s salary alone, but women still don’t get equal pay even though most households need their income.
Only 7% of CEOs are women
1 in 3 managers or supervisors is a woman
Only 27% of congress are women
Gender inequality plagues the healthcare industry
Women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injury in car crashes because safety features are designed for men’s bodies.
33,000 girls under 18 become child brides every day.
Women still do most of the housework and childcare
Not a single country in the world has achieved gender equality.
We live in a world where girls are made to adhere to a dress code in school so they don’t “tempt” the boys. As young women entering the work force, they’ll get paid less than men doing the same job and that’s according to the US Census Bureau.
They’ll learn not to leave a drink on the table, they’ll learn to walk through parking lots with their keys laced between their fingers and they’ll learn to text someone when they’re home safe.
They’ll learn not to go out alone after dark, lock the car door instantly, and to be careful how they reject men because women have been shot for saying no.
And heaven forbid, if they get raped, instead of being consoled, they’ll be asked what they were wearing and why were they there.
I don’t know what kind of wild imagination a person must have to think any of that constitutes gender equality.
March is Women’s History Month and I’d like to tell Alice Paul to rest in peace…
When Alice Paul was 63 years old, she began to realize that maybe her amendment wasn’t going to happen in her lifetime. So she rolled up her sleeves and got it added to the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At 79 years of age, she got it added to Civil Rights Act of 1964.
She spent her entire life fighting for equality. Right until she died at 92. She was tireless. To this day, people leave notes at her tombstone to thank her for her lifelong work on behalf of women’s rights.
In the time it took you to read this, 4 women have been raped and one has been murdered. Their perpetrators will walk free. 75% will not be reported and of the few who are reported, half a percent will face repercussion.
This year—2023—marks 100 years since Alice Paul proposed that amendment.
I’d like to tell her to rest in peace.
But I don’t imagine she does.
“If the women of the world had not been excluded from world affairs,
things today might have been different.” — Alice Paul, 1885-1977
This is going to sound strange, but I think some women shy away from the term feminist because they associate it with abortion rights and lesbians. They may be pro-choice and pro LBGQT+ rights but they don’t want people to make assumptions about them by saying, “I’m a feminist.” Just a theory.
Excellent piece! It is chilling seeing all the stats placed together in such a short amount of space. The realities of the US are getting more and more unbelievable.