Document 44: Connecticut Committee for the Equal Rights Amendment, "A Brief on the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States," after March 1955, Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt Papers, 1885-1961, A-61, Box 4, Folder 93, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 2 pp.


   By 1955 Kitchelt had created a large tent for the ERA campaign. This flyer affirmed that "Laws protecting the worker should protect all workers," and also stated that "Equal citizens are not identical citizens," two interpretations that had been staples of Kitchelt's approach to the ERA for more than a decade.

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A Brief
Equal Rights



    Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.

    This amendment shall take effect one year after the date of ratification.


    To meet the requirements of democratic government.

    To clarify the status of women under State laws.

    To bring women under the full protection of the Constitution.

    To make possible constructive action by our Government in the United Nations in its work toward equal rights for women everywhere.

51 Mill Rock Road, New Haven 11, Conn.
Tel.: MAin 4-7366

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To give to women under the Constitution, equally
with men, the dignity and protection of
full citizenship

    1. United States Supreme Court decisions and other rulings have held that women are not "persons" in the legal sense of that term. Because of such ruling, women doctors badly needed during war could not be appointed as army officers until Congress passed a special law. Such a ruling by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts prevented women from sitting on juries. It took thirty years after women received the vote to change that law in Massachusetts.

    2. Discriminatory statutes may be passed at any time if they affect women only, because such statutes are not unconstitutional, as they would be if they affected men. Under common law, in 41 States property acquired by the cooperative efforts of husband and wife is the separate property of the husband; in some States women do not have equal guardianship over their children. In Government administration there is discrimination, as in state and federal civil service, where certain examinations are closed to women, as for accountants for the internal revenue service.

    3. The legal status of women varies from State to State. Before the federal suffrage amendment, women could vote in some States but not in others. Similar confusion and contradiction exist today in other laws which would be cleared away by the Equal Rights Amendment.

    4. Laws protecting the worker should protect all workers. Safe working conditions and a limited workday are essential to efficient production whether the workers be men or women. Women are working in every one of the 446 occupations reported in the census. (Dept. of Labor, Women's Bureau report, 1955.) As Samuel Gompers asserted back in 1913, "the industrial problems of women are not isolated, but are inextricably associated with those of men".

    5. Equal pay for equal work is recognized as a just demand. But "women will never obtain . . . it . . . until they are equal citizens", declares the experienced legislator, Honorable Katharine St. George.

    6. The Declaration of Independence does not say "all men are created identical." Equal citizens are not identical citizens, and they do not have identical needs. Coal miners need one kind of protection, mothers another. It is the same with automobile workers or textile workers, with veterans or the indigent. The welfare

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of special groups is protected by statutory law, enacted in legislatures and changed as need arises.

    7. We are party to the purpose of the United Nations to "encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, . . . or religion."


    Elmer Davis says, "I am in favor of equal rights for women--also for men. I note that both are included in the Equal Rights Amendment."

    "Let it be pointed out that women's first qualification is the same as men's--their humanity. As with men, sex, skill, creed and color are secondary qualities." Florence L. C. Kitchelt.

    These students of human society are of one mind. "True science teaches that the elevation of women is the only sure road to the elevation of man." Lester Ward. "The best of all ways in which men can help themselves is to help women realize their potentialities to the fullest." Ashley Montagu.

    Dr. Rosamonde Ramsay Boyd, teacher, has shown that "former laws that protected women now prohibit women. Freedom and equality are necessary to their maturity as well as to the maturity of men." The Under-Secretary of Labor, Arthur Larson, has declared (March, 1955) "The time has come when, with a third of the labor force made up of women, it no longer makes sense to think of women as a separate segment of the work force at all, or, for that matter, a separate legal or political category."

    Endorsement of the Amendment has come from state, national and international organizations, such as the National Association of Women Lawyers, the National Education Association, the American Association of Women Ministers, the National Women's Party, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, etc.

    "In spirit women have attained a legal status equal with men, but in fact they are still in a subject class." New Jersey State Bar Association.

    "Every one has the right to protection against arbitrary discrimination in the provisions and application of the law because of race, religion, sex . . . " Committee of the American Law Institute.

    The Inter-American Bar Association has recommended "that all American nations recognize the equality of men and women in the economic, judicial and social fields and incorporate that principal in their constitutions."

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    Race, creed and sex have been the recognized areas of discrimination since the dawn of history.

    1787. The Constitution was framed under the influence of common-law, which is the code of precedent and tradition. Common law did not regard women as persons or legal entities.

    1791. The First Amendment made discrimination because of creed unlawful.

    1868-70. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments made discrimination because of race unlawful.

    1920. The Nineteenth Amendment made discrimination because of sex unlawful with respect to voting. Any other discrimination because of sex is still lawful.

    1923. The Equal Rights Amendment was placed before Congress by Senator Charles E. Curtis, later Vice-President, and Representative Daniel R. Anthony.

    1940. The Republican Party endorsed the Amendment in its national platform and has so continued.

    1942. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported the Amendment favorably and has so continued in every subsequent Congress.

    1943. The Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman, Warren Austin, rephrased the Amendment in its present classical form.

    1944. The Democratic Party endorsed the Amendment in its national platform and has so continued.

    1945. The Senate ratified the Charter of the United Nations, which affirms "the equal rights of men and women."

    1946. The first vote on the Amendment was taken, in the Senate. The favorably majority vote was less than the required ⅔rds majority.

    1947. At the International Conference of American States, all 21 Republics, except the U.S.A., signed a convention granting to women the same civil rights enjoyed by men. Our representative, Norman Armour, then Assistant-Secretary of State, explained that "if the Equal Rights Amendment were added to the Constitution there would be nothing of a constitutional nature to prevent . . . signing."

    1948. Our delegate to the United Nations Economic and Social Council voted against a resolution, carried by the votes of nine other nations, which provided for equal economic rights of women.

    1950. The second vote on the Amendment was taken, in the Senate. Over a ⅔rds favorable vote was cast, but a nullifying rider had been added, proposed from the floor by Senator Carl Hayden.

    1953. The third vote on the Amendment was taken, in the Senate, repeating the vote of 1950. Again the rider, without submission to the Judiciary Committee, had been added from the floor. It was characterized by Senators of both Parties as political hypocrisy.

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