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Steve Corbin

Steve Corbin

The 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in 1920, equal rights for women, and the pending Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution make for a trilogy around a common theme. But, here we are in 2020 with many men and a political party fighting against the advancement of their sisters.

The Tennessee General Assembly approved the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920. Eight days later (August 26), U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby declared the women’s right to vote ratification as official and made it law.

According to a March 18-April 1 Pew Research Center survey, about half (49 percent) of Americans cite women’s suffrage as the most important accomplishment in advancing the position of women. The survey also reveals passage of the Equal Pay Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and availability of the birth control pill as other important milestones.

Nearly three out of five people (57 percent) say the country hasn’t gone far enough to granting women true equal rights with men.

Hope is on the horizon...maybe.

Americans perceive sexual harassment (75 percent), different legal rights for men and women (67 percent), different societal expectations (66 percent), and not enough women in positions of leadership (64 percent) as major barriers to gender equality.

These barriers must be addressed if Americans want to improve our 53rd ranking on the Global Gender Gap Index.

Understandably, 76 percent of Americans say the gains women have made in society have not come at the expense of men. Troubling, however, is “Republican men (38 percent) are twice as likely as Democratic men (19 percent) to say gains women have made have come at the expense of men.”

Really? Men: What expense have women created that you can’t handle? Specifics – not generalities – please.

Are you jealous because a qualified woman got selected for a job over you? Is having a female supervisor harmful to your ego?

Do powerful women challenge your self-anointed macho image?

Is the fear of losing control and domination something where you may need a checkup from the neck up?

The Pew survey cites true parity in the workplace “…as a sign of a society where men and women are equal.” Workplace examples, in priority order, include equal pay, no discrimination in hiring and promotion, genders receiving equal respect in the workplace, and paternity and maternity support.

In January 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the 38th state to approve the Equal Rights Amendment, passing the three-fourths of states ratification requirement. Subsequently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 79 (February 13), and S.J. Res. 6 is now before the U.S. Senate; both bills requesting ERA to become law-of-the-land.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) are not permitting S.J. Res. 6 to come up for debate and vote. Neither of Iowa’s GOP Senators, Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst, has responded to multiple requests for support of S.J. Res. 6 and the ERA. Nor is it known if they even value gender equity.

It’s important to know that about eight-in-ten Americans (78 percent) favor adding the ERA to the Constitution; 88 percent of Democrats and only 66 percent of Republicans.

This year’s Iowa 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration theme is aptly titled “Hard Won – Not Done.” Evidence is replete the “not done” portion of the theme as related to women equality is legitimate.

It’s high time males in general and the Republican Party in particular adjust their 1965-1970 male chauvinistic era attitude to the 21st century and treat women for who they are: equal partners under the canopy of heaven.