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Equal Rights In America Essay

Men and Women should have equal rights

What are human rights? Human rights are the rights that all people are supposed to enjoy by being human beings. All people are entitled to equal human rights regardless of gender, race, and place of residence, religious affiliation, language, or nationality. Human rights are universal in nature, to mean that they are applicable in every part of the universe to everyone. No person can or should be denied their rights. There are many human rights such as the right to association, the right to education, right to basic needs, the right to live and much more. These are just but some of them. Many more human rights should be observed at all times.

The topic of whether men and women should have equal human rights has been at the center of controversy in many parts of the world. Men seem to regard themselves as more superior to women. This, however, is a rather ignorant view of the subject matter. As stated earlier, human beings are equal regardless of gender or race. Therefore, both men and women deserve equal rights since they are similar in all aspects whatsoever.

Men and women are entitled to receive an education of equal standards. Education is a paramount aspect of our livelihood. It is incredibly shameful that at this point and time of human existence, there are still people who believe that women are meant to stay at home and serve men rather than be educated. This is characteristic of the remote places in the world where men view themselves as a superior being to women.

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Women and men are entitled to freedom from torture and downgrading treatment. Women, mostly in the Islamic and Arabic nations such as Saudi Arabia are usually disregarded. Tough laws regarding women in these countries have seen many of them lose their lives. Some of the simple things that other women enjoy in other parts of the world such as the use of make-up are punishable sometimes with death or severe stroking and amputation of body parts by male religious leaders.

It is incredibly sad that in some areas of the world, women are not allowed to own any form of property. The right to ownership of assets is disregarded on a gender basis. In some parts of the world, men believe that they are the sole owners of all property and that no woman should have any property whatsoever under her ownership. Such chauvinistic beliefs should be scrapped off the face of humanity at all costs

Freedom of movement in and out of a nation is another fundamental right that has been denied to women by gender. Some countries do not allow their women to move to other countries for any reason whatsoever. This restricted movement of women is usually perpetrated by men who feel that their women are very inferior and should not be allowed to go to other nations since they may be “fooled” with revolutionist ideas to rebel. Men and women are entitled to free movement in and out of their nations.

The right to democracy and participation in elections has also been disregarded to women on a gender basis. This has been the case in Saudi Arabia up to recently when the nation bowed to world pressure to allow their women participate in elections and vie for elective posts in the government. It is somber that women in this nation for many years were not able to participate in national development by electing their leaders. World leaders greatly criticized this alienation from participating in elections.

Both men and women are entitled to equal treatment. Therefore, human rights should be upheld at all times irrespective of gender. It is worthy to mention that there has been a significant improvement in the protection of human rights in the recent past in most areas of the world. The isolated cases of human rights violation based on gender are in the process of being eliminated.

Essay/Term paper: The equal rights amendment

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The Equal Rights Amendment

"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

In 1923, this statement was admitted to Congress under the Equal Rights
Amendment (ERA). The ERA was a proposed amendment to the United States
Constitution granting equality between men and women under the law. If the Era
was passed, it would have made unconstitutional any laws that grant one sex
different rights than the other. However, in the 1970s, the Era was not passed,
and therefore did not become law.
The idea for an equal rights amendment first became acknowledged in the
early part of the twentieth century. In 1916, Alice Paul founded the National
Women's party (NWP), a political party dedicated to establishing equal rights
for women. Traditionally, women were viewed as weaker and inferior to men. The
purpose of the ERA was to prohibit any person from acting on this belief. Alice
Paul viewed that equality under the law was the foundation essential to full
equality for women.
In November of 1922, the NWP voted to work for a federal amendment that
could guarantee women's equal rights regardless of legislatures' indecisions.
The NWP had 400 women lobbying for equality.
Despite strong opposition by some women and men, the NWP introduced and
Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1923. In order to
become law, the amendment needed a two-thirds vote in both houses of the
congress of the United States, or a supporting petition of two-thirds of the
state legislatures. Then the amendment would have required ratification by
three-fourths of the states. However, it failed to get the two-thirds majority
required to move onto the states for approval. The proposed amendment also
failed in following sessions until 1972, when it won a majority vote in Congress.

The main objectives of the women's movement included equal pay for equal
work, federal support for day-care centers, recognition of lesbian rights,
continued legalization of abortion, and the focus of serious attention on the
problems of rape, wife and child beating, and discrimination against older and
minority women. The ERA would have addressed all of these issues if it were
Had it been adopted, the ERA would have resolved the paradox of an
oppressed majority, by adding to the Constitution a provision that says no
person shall be denied any rights on the basis of sex. But ten years after
being approved by Congress, the bill died three states shy of thirty-eight
needed to ratify.
Defenders in Congress and out of Congress believe that equal rights for
women will be neither abandoned nor compromised, but supported until successful.
Some of the more conservative supporters of the ERA included Senator Strom
Thurman, President Richard Nixon, and Governor George Wallace. Today, President
Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton are also strong supporters of equal
rights for women.
At the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the main theme was
effort to promote equal rights for women. A speaker for the United States,
Madeleine K. Albright, announced that the Clinton administration is determined
to bring down the barriers to the equal participation of women that take place
in this country. She introduced a seven-point plan of commitments that the
United States government plans to take. Although the ERA was denied in the
seventies, the new administrations are trying to introduce plans that will
exemplify equal rights for women in society.
Opposition to the ERA in the 1970s was similar in some ways to
opposition in the 1920s. Conservative politicians and organization voiced
strong opposition to the amendment. Phyllis Schlafly, one of the amendment's
most vocal opponents, founded STOP ERA, a group that worked to defeat the
amendment. "Schlafly argued that the amendment would force women to take on
roles normally reserved for the men and that equal rights meant women would give
up "privileges" of womanhood." Th ERA was also opposed by many woman who feared
the loss of alimony and of exemption of military service.
Although there is no consensus to explain the ERA's defeat, there are
several theories. "Many felt that it was a rejection of the feminist ideal of
what women ought to be, an ideal that threatened to destroy the American family
and sap the strength of a society already crippled by moral permissiveness and
political weakness and indecision." Others felt that the Church of Jesus Christ
spent great sums of money to defeat the amendment.
Equality for both men and women included the draft. Although women
wanted equality in society, they did not want to be included in the draft. One
of the most damaging charges was that the ERA would force young women into
combat. Children carried signs in front of Congress with the slogan "Please
Don't Send My Mommy to War!" Many felt that if a woman went into to war, they
were considered to be women-who-want-to-be-men - anomalous persons who rejected
the kind of life that nature (G-d and sex) had ordained.
In the January 1983 issue of Ms. magazine, Gloria Steinem and her
coeditors argued that the ERA failed for three reasons: 1) too many people, both
men and women, dislike women; 2) most of the majority expressing support in the
polls remained contently expectant instead of becoming politically determined;
and 3) the opposition was better organized.
Other opposition to the ERA included how the Amendment was to be
interpreted. It was felt that giving the Supreme Court and federal agencies
authority to spell out the meaning of equal rights would be risky. Decisions
made on such a level would be too far removed from the ideas and desires of the
people. Opponents felt that equal rights should be dealt with on a local or
state level where legislators can be voted out of position if the people do not
like some of the decisions made.
Although the ERA did not pass, all of the actions made by NOW, NWP, and
any of the other women's movements, have greatly aided women in their battle
against sex discrimination in the work place, in educational institutions, and
in their roles as wives and mothers, and finally laid to rest the controversy
over protective legislation and equal rights. Like the Fourteenth
Amendment, we are inclined to forget that the ERA was designed not to change
values but to modify behavior of mainstream citizens by changing the
constitutional status of a particular group. The ERA's purpose was and is to
provide equality of opportunity through the Constitution and legal system for
those women who want to realize full personal and professional expectations
within mainstream America


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