By Marena Groll
The introduction of the ERA will mark North Carolina’s commitment to civil rights, which was supposed to create equal economic opportunity. Women are 51.3% of the North Carolina population, according to the latest U.S. Census figures.
|Groll, June 2014 Bennett College, Greensboro|
As recent history has shown, pay equity for women remains a significant problem. Although there are laws on the books against discrimination in pay, the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, effectively relegating women to an unequal or lower class of citizen. This inequality compromises women by affording them lesser redress and a lower standard of judicial scrutiny under the Constitution to challenge sex discrimination.
Women continue to be targets of sex discrimination due to systemic failings threatening our very survival. We are physically injured, abused and raped in epidemic numbers and yet this violence is not taken as a serious, egregious violation of our constitutional rights, resulting in further threats to survival and that of our spouses and children.
These are not the only forms of injustice we endure. Moreover, existing laws designed to protect us from the injustice of sex discrimination are not comprehensive or fully inclusive and can be rolled back by a simple congressional vote. Therefore, women cannot continue to be asked to wait for their civil right to equal constitutional protection to become a priority. It must be a priority now.