22222222What the ERA Means to Me: Olivia

By Olivia La Monte, policy intern at ERA Coalition

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a promise that my sister, mom, aunts, friends, and all the women in this country will be protected from discrimination and have the right to bodily autonomy. 

The ERA gives hope that future generations of women will not have to worry about accessing reproductive health care services. The amendment will allow young girls to grow up and believe that they can do whatever they put their minds up to without having to fight the system every step of the way. 

When I asked my mother what sex equality means to her, this is what she said, “Sex equality means that for every physical, mental, and emotional challenge that men and women encounter, we are considered equally capable. If we are considered equally capable of facing these challenges, then we should be judged and looked at equally. And since women are equal to the capabilities of men, we deserve the same rights and privileges that they have. Sex equality means that men should not be able to hold more power than women because sex equality means that we are equal.”

When I asked my older sister why sex equality is so important, this was her response, “Sex equality is important because it demands that men are held accountable for their actions. It means that women all around the country can get closure and justice for the trauma that they have experienced from being sexually assaulted and being discriminated upon by a man. Women should feel safe to choose what they want to do with their bodies. They should have power and agency to make their own choices.”

When I asked my friend in her senior year of high school why sex equality is vital, she explained, “It’s so important because every little girl deserves to grow up knowing she will have the right to her own body, the right to an education, equal treatment in the workplace, and most of all, the feeling of safety, in all aspects of her life as she grows up.”

And when I ask myself why sex equality is important, I look at all of the amazing and strong women in my life; I see their pain and trauma because the opposition to the ERA chose to not protect them; and I know that having sex equality in the United States will protect them from having to experience hardships due to their gender and sex ever again. 

The ERA is not only a promise, but a necessity. The protection and autonomy of women must be included in the Constitution of the United States. With the current political climate threatening our rights, it is now more important than ever that we fight for the ERA. We fight for us. We fight for every single woman who has faced misogyny, and who doubt that they are good enough because of their gender. We have fought too long, too hard, and sacrificed too much to have our basic rights taken away from us. Now is our time to finally be treated as equals.

The ERA stands for freedom, justice, and liberty for all, not just men. It means that all women and men are equal. That is what the ERA means to me.

Olivia La Monte

Olivia is currently a junior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, majoring in Sociology. She gained her passion for women’s rights and equality from her mom, who inspired her to stand up for her rights.