The U.S. Senate is set to vote today on a measure that could allow the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to be added to the U.S. Constitution, a century after its introduction.
Riché Richardson, professor of African American literature and associate faculty member in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell University, says these changes are needed and long overdue.
“The passage of this ERA legislation is urgent to help create a more equitable and inclusive society that's fairer to Black women, recognizes the value in all women, and is fully accountable for paying us as well as it is typically willing to pay men for their work, and for taking us as seriously, rather than continuing patterns of shortchanging women who also work hard, while also pulling the proverbial second shift at home in many cases. These changes are needed and are long overdue.
“I am thankful for being a living testimony of what is possible when doors of opportunity are opened to women, in my case, as a Black woman born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama in the post-Jim Crow South who has had extraordinary educational and career opportunities.
“But we live in a nation where people of African descent, including Black women, still have to be ‘twice as good to get half as far,’ as the saying goes. Still, we are not always able to take for granted that we will have a seat at the table. As the data has illustrated in the realm of higher education, Black women make up just 2% of full professors among the 32% of women full professors in all, revealing how marginalized and underrepresented we continue to be in academia, and persisting inequity therein."
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