The Hon. Carolyn Maloney, Hunter College Students, and women’s rights leaders rang the Nasdaq closing bell Friday, July 14. All wore white in honor of the suffragist movement, the 100th anniversary of the first writing of the Equal Rights Amendment, and the 175th anniversary of the first Seneca Falls Convention for Women’s Rights.
(Friday, July 14, 2023, New York City) – The student founders of the Sign4ERA Initiative at Hunter College joined the Hon. Carolyn B. Maloney and other women’s rights leaders to ring the Nasdaq Closing Bell in support of women’s equality. The Sign4ERA Initiative — a product of a course taught at Hunter by Maloney, who serves at Roosevelt House as the Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leader in Residence — pressures Congress to pass HJ 25 and SJ 4, clearing the way for it to become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.
To kick-off their campaign, the initiative began a national petition drive in April of 2023. The petition, which already has over 27,000 signatures, has garnered support from hard-hitting names such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Gloria Steinem, and Alyssa Milano.
To sign the petition, please visit www.Sign4ERA.org.
The ERA cleared all requirements of Article 5 of the Constitution — passage through the House, passage through the Senate, and ratification by 38 states — when Virginia ratified it in 2020. Although ratified, Congress has yet to formally recognize the amendment which is necessary for its implementation into the Constitution.
The ERA would add Constitutional backing to gains already made in gender equality – like reproductive health care, educational opportunities, and financial rights. With the E.R.A these rights would be universal across all states and could not be randomly reversed by the courts, or the President. It would also allow for legislative progress such as the enforcement of equal pay for equal work, providing more protection for domestic violence victims and the LGBTQ+ community, and restoring legal access to the right to choose.
“For decades, women have fought for equal rights under the law, and the ERA was designed to enshrine those rights in the constitution” said Asia Khan, a founder of the Sign4ERA initiative. “We owe more to our mothers, grandmothers, and to ourselves.” Khan ended by urging attendees to sign the petition, “This petition will change lives and redefine our future.”
Zakiya Thomas, President & CEO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality, also stressed the importance of the Sign4ERA petition citing that we are “closer than we’ve ever been to Constitutional equality, and we’re seeing more energy and momentum behind the Equal Rights Amendment than we have seen in decades. Now is the time to get the equality over the finish line, and the Sign4ERA petition will help us get there.”
“It is not lost on me that while we stand at the pillar of the financial world, we do not stand as a pillar for American women. While women outperform the market, the market devalues them” said Lisa Sales, President of Virginia NOW, “While women and our labor are the backbones of America, more than half our population is not recognized in our constitution.”
Sally Greenspan, of Downtown Women for Change said “It is shameful that in 2023 we are still discussing whether women should be equal to men in the United States of America. Shocking that women still have limited access to comprehensive healthcare, remain victims of unequal pay and confront sexual harassment in the workplace and domestic violence at home.”
Ting Ting Cheng, a representative from the Columbia Law School ERA Project said “Equality is a guiding principle in our democracy and the ERA will center the lived experiences and voices of women of color, who have the most to gain from the ERA and who are last to benefit from progress in our society. It is up to all of us to craft a 21st Century Sex Equality Paradigm to fully account for how sex and race discrimination intersect with one another – because the ERA is for everyone, especially those who need it the most.
Maloney and the Sign4ERA Initiative will join other women’s leaders at the ERA Centennial Convention in Seneca Falls from July 21-22. There, they will take part in educational ERA sessions, tour historic sites, and march in the ERA Centennial Rally.
About Carolyn Maloney
First elected to Congress in 1992 during the ‘Year of the Woman,’ Carolyn B. Maloney is a nationally recognized progressive leader with extensive accomplishments in financial services, national security, the economy, and women’s issues. She was ranked as the second-most effective legislator in the 117th Congress (2021-2023) and third-most effective in the 116th Congress by the nonpartisan Center for Effective Law Making. Representative Maloney was the first woman to serve as Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Joint Economic Committee, and the first woman to represent her district in Congress. Representative Maloney began her career as a teacher and administrator for the New York City Board of Education. When her program was cut, she succeeded in restoring funding against long odds with tenacity and persistence, which became hallmarks of her career. Representative Maloney is a leading advocate for legislation to recognize ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Overcoming years-long resistance from the Senate, she secured approval to build the forthcoming Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum on the National Mall. Following her 30 years in Congress and 10 years on the New York City Council. Representative Maloney is currently serving as the “Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leader in Residence” at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, a public policy institute housed at Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s former home. While in this position she has devoted the majority of her time to the passage of the ERA, having backed a student-led petition drive known as the Sign4ERA Initiative. She was recently elected Chair of the Board for the ERA Coalition, which she helped create. Representative Maloney also serves as President of the New York Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Started in April 2023, the Sign4ERA Initiative is a petition drive started by Hunter College Students which advocates for the recognition of the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A). The E.R.A would guarantee that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex” and give Congress the ability to enforce gender equality with legislation. Despite the E.R.A meeting the ratification requirement in 2020, Congress has yet to recognize the E.R.A due to the arbitrary 7 year deadline placed upon ratification in 1972. The Sign4ERA petition is in support of a Joint Congressional Resolution to declare the E.R.A as the 28th Amendment and eliminate any arbitrary deadline. To sign the petition visit www.Sign4ERA.org, and follow us on Instagram @Sign4ERA.
[Photo Caption: Carolyn B. Maloney officially ringing the Nasdaq Closing Bell in honor of the Equal Rights Amendment and Women’s Equality. Directly behind the podium from left to right pictured are Sally Greenspan (Downtown Women for Change), Lisa Sales (President of Virginia NOW), Asia Khan (founder of the Sign4ERA Initiative), Carolyn B. Maloney, Zakiya Thomas (President & CEO of ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality), Aarush Santoshi (Generation Ratify), Elizabeth Hemmerdinger (The Feminist Majority). Photography courtesy of Nasdaq, Inc.]