The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is an amendment to the United States Constitution that would guarantee equal rights and legal protections for all citizens, regardless of their gender (first introduced in 1923). While the ERA has yet to be added to the Constitution (despite meeting the requirements set forth in Article V of the Constitution), the movement to publish it continues to gain momentum as more people recognize the urgent need for gender equity in all areas of society.

One critical area where the ERA could make a significant impact is in protecting workers' rights, including LGBTQ workers' rights.

Strengthening existing workers' rights

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

The ERA would help to strengthen existing laws and policies that protect workers from discrimination, harassment, and unequal treatment in the workplace. For example, it would ensure that all workers receive equal pay for equal work, regardless of their gender. It would also provide legal protections for pregnant workers and nursing mothers, and help to close the gender pay gap, which disproportionately affects women, particularly women of color.

Ensuring LGBTQ workers' rights

If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.

Zanele Muholi

The ERA would help to protect the rights of LGBTQ workers, who often face discrimination and harassment in the workplace due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. It would ensure that LGBTQ workers are protected from discrimination in hiring, firing, and promotion, and that they have access to the same legal protections as non-LGBTQ workers.

Photo Credit: Mat McDermott 

Creating a more equitable workplace

“The human heart is too grand to be wasted in the gutter of cultural exclusivity.”

–Abhijit Naskar

By guaranteeing equal rights and protections for all workers, the ERA would help to create a more equitable workplace and society. It would help to address the systemic biases and inequalities that have long been embedded in our laws and policies, and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their gender, race, or other identity factors.

The Equal Rights Amendment is a crucial step in protecting workers' rights, including LGBTQ workers' rights. By guaranteeing equal rights and protections for all citizens, the ERA would help to create a more equitable and just society, where everyone is valued and respected. It is time for us to get the ERA published in the Constitution and ensure that all workers, regardless of their identity, are treated fairly and with dignity.

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