Why We Should Pass the ERA: Men and Women Are Different yet Equal
What Does the ERA State?
According to the website, The Equal Rights Amendment (http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/), the full text of the proposed Constitutional Amendment reads:
- Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
- Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
("The ERA: A Brief Introduction," para.1).
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Early Women's Rights Activists in the USA
Women and Men: Two Halves of One Whole
Historically, human beings have held widely differing views of the essential natures of men and women and of the position that each gender should hold. Our world has seen societies that believe men are dominant, that believe women are dominant, and that believe male and female genders are essentially equal, though different. The ideology each culture holds sacred determines that culture’s perception of the nature of each gender, as well as setting roles and rules for all members of the society, of all genders (Gottner-Abendroth). Modern Western civilization has long held men as dominant, seeing women as child bearers and support for men and even going as far as interpreting Genesis 2:21 (in which God makes woman from man’s rib) as meaning that woman is lesser than man because she is created under man’s arm (The Holy Bible).
Arguably, women and men are simply different, but equal. Women and men fit together, like two halves of a whole, yin and yang. As one being, they represent the cosmic unity and creative power that can be seen as God. As one being, a fully realized male/female pair would be truly in the image of God (“The Principle…”).
Of course, most human beings in this world fall short of "full realization," at least during their lives on Earth. Human beings are quite limited mentally and spiritually, tragically. This might or might not be a permanent condition of human beings—the author hopes it is not permanent. The tragedy of human beings’ failure to grow to spiritual maturity while on the Earth is so devastating that one desperately hopes that humanity as a whole is progressing in our capability to grow to mental and spiritual maturity. One hopes that finally, human beings on Earth will reach a point of consciousness where we leave behind base emotions, thoughts, and will, and that human beings might perhaps even reach oneness with the higher power in the Universe, with God, during their lives on Earth, as a normal result of growing up centered on God (“The Principle…”).
At that point, the basic equality of men and women would be undeniable. Both are fully capable of the entire range of human abilities. Fitting together, complementing each other, the male – female pair contains the full circle of human nature, developed in each gender as passion develops through the levels of emotion, heart, will, intellect, and spirit. Additionally, men contain female nature in them and women contain male nature in them, and each individual human being is a unique expression of that nature. Thus, it is not possible to forcibly determine or limit a person’s role in society based on his/her gender; ideally, one should do what his/her unique character and ability fits him/her to do best. As such, both genders should have equal rights, equal respect, and equal responsibility in modern society. Men and women should live side by side as brother and sister under God. When they mate and marry, human beings should carry forth as one being, representing that Higher Power in all its perfectly- blended duality, a combination of their individual natures (“The Principle…”).
Legislation, social mores, and relationships should reflect this equality. There should be equal pay, equal opportunity in all areas of life and society, and equal respect for human beings of both genders. Though human beings will continue to live imperfect lives for many more centuries, we must attempt to see important human rights issues such as equal gender rights clearly, and the male and female genders should learn to live together as two different, yet equal, halves of one whole, in every way, including legally. The ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, should be passed to claim universal gender respect as a right for every person, and our society should uphold that value. Passing the ERA, thus making equal gender rights a formal part of the US Constitution, is important since gender equality is a basic human right that has been suppressed and denied throughout the history of this nation, however advanced other values of the United States might be. Americans should take responsibility to pioneer equal gender rights for the sake of all humanity.
"The ERA: A Brief Introduction." Overview. The Equal Rights Amendment. Alice Paul Institute/National Council of Women's Organizations. 9/9/2012. Web. 1/13/2013.
“The Principle of Creation.” Divine Principle . 5th Ed. New York, N. Y.: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1977. Print.
The Holy Bible. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1971. Print. Revised Standard Version.
Gottner-Abendroth, Heide. "The Structure of Matriarchal Societies." Revision 21.3 (1999): 31. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2011.
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