The Equality Act provides basic protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, access to public spaces, housing, education, credit and federal funding. According to the Webster Dictionary Equality is defined as “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights and opportunities.” The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1923, which guaranteed equal rights under the law for Americans regardless of their sex. In order for the amendment to be added to the constitution it has to be ratified by thirty-eight of the fifty states.
For the second year in a row the Arizona Legislature has failed to allow a debate on the ratification of the ERA. Republicans have failed to allow a debate on the proposed amendment that broadly guarantees equal rights between men and women. While the constitution recognizes that all men are created equal, women have been left marginalized to fight for equal treatment. It is time the Constitution acknowledged women as equal citizens of this country. I will support legislation that provides equal pay for equal work.
According to research published in an article by The Republic in April 2018, women earn about 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. I believe the problem is exacerbated when workplace policies exclude women from certain job sectors. These exclusions create persistent disparities in women’s income, wealth, and economic security.
Many states have enacted laws for the public and private sector that go beyond what federal law requires, however Arizona is not one of those states. We need to ensure working parents have paid family and medical leave, flexible use of sick leave and workplace protections for nursing mothers.