Back to the Future: The ERA

The Equal Rights Amendment known as ERA — yes that ERA — is back.

The House passed a bill last week that would extend the deadline to ratify the amendment to the Constitution prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.

But is this five-decade-old amendment up to this moment? A moment that includes #MeToo, rising hate crimes against women of color and a pandemic that has battered women more than men? We turn to professor Julie Suk, who published “We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment,” to discuss.

For Black women, it’s always been political and personal

Whether Sojourner Truth actually spoke the famous phrase attributed to her is a question. But the message of her 1851 speech at a women’s rights convention was clear: “Ain’t I a woman?” The formerly enslaved abolitionist and civil and women’s rights activist would not be dismissed when she demanded the time and commanded the stage, something that is not in dispute.

During Women’s History Month, in the week of International Women’s Day, my thoughts turn to Sojourner Truth. She was enslaved, cruelly abused, separated from her true love by a slave master determined that any children she had would be “owned” by him. Yet she escaped and sued to win back a son illegally sold into slavery.

While her battles, lost and won, benefited everyone, that reality did not always break through. She was repeatedly forced to prove so much, including that she was, indeed, a woman, one who loved, was loved and deserved love, who would crash a system designed to hold her down to get her child back in her arms.

Where do Black women fit in this time of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women? At turns ignored and praised, vilified and valorized — and, sometimes, called on to save the world — we still have to stand up to declare our own truth, and our fullness as human beings.

Sree’s Sunday #NYTReadalong Tribute to Betsy Wade

at 1:30 mark:

A tribute to Betsy Wade, the first woman to edit news at The New York Times. She died this week at the age of 91. In a 45-year Times career, she also became the first woman to lead the Newspaper Guild of New York and fought a sex discrimination case against the paper.