Competency has long trumped gender as qualifier for women achievers, rendering Equal Rights Amendment irrelevant
As the ERA resurfaces in the Arizona Legislature, and marches on the state capitol are planned, it’s worth examining the facts regarding the need for a constitutional amendment to enshrine equal rights for women.
For the third year in a row, women outnumbered men in law school classrooms across the country in 2018. Ditto medical schools, with higher female enrollment. Women serve in record numbers in congress. In a historic first, Arizona is represented in Washington D.C. by two female U.S. Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema. Ironically, it was Democrat Sinema who viciously slurred women.
Four of Arizona’s last six governors have been women, dating back to 1988. We were also one of the first states to send a woman to Congress, when Isabella Selmes Greenway won office in 1932. Not only was Sandra Day O’Connor — appointed by President Ronald Reagan — the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, but the trailblazing state of Arizona had the first female state Supreme Court Justice, when Lorna Lockwood — born in 1903, in the Arizona territory — ascended to the Arizona Supreme Court.
Justice Lockwood is notable for being the first woman in the nation to become Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court serving in that capacity twice — from 1965 through 1966 and from 1970 through 1971. She passed the bar in 1925 and was a state legislator and Superior Court Judge before ascending to the Arizona Supreme Court in 1960 — paving the nearly identical career path Sandra O’Connor eventually took to the U.S. Supreme Court. O’Connor was elected to both the state legislature and as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge (prior to the 1974 advent of “merit selection”) before being named to the Supreme Court.
Women are also entrepreneurial. According to these 2017 figures, which have no doubt grown since they were released, more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales.
So why is the political left reviving efforts to pass the obviously unnecessary Equal Rights Amendment? Women have served in Presidential Cabinets, as spokespersons and advisers. Female Democrat 2020 presidential aspirants are already outnumbering their male counterparts.
Women obviously are not in need of amendment to ensure equal rights. The rights have been in place for decades as Arizonans are well aware, exemplified by Justice Lockwood, who passed the bar 93 years ago, beginning her stellar career path.
In 1998, five Arizona women known as the ‘Fab Five’ were simultaneously elected to the state’s top government positions. Governor Jane Dee Hull; Secretary of State Betsey Bayless; Attorney General Janet Napolitano; Treasurer Carol Springer; and Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham-Keegan.
Soon after statehood in 1912, Arizona amended the state constitution to grant women’s voting rights and ensure their ability to hold public office. That occurred a full eight years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women’s rights.
What exactly would the ratification of the obviously antiquated notion of an Equal Rights Amendment accomplish in 2019?