Monday makes it 99 years since congress cemented the right for women to vote was amended into the U.S. Constitution. Women across the nation used the day to push for another amendment the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified.
More than a dozen women are gathered outside Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s office. They want the state to ratify a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution called the Equal Right Amendment or ERA. National Organization for Women lobbyist Barbara DeVane led the group.
"The 19th amendment which was ratified 99 years ago, next year we’ll be celebrating the 100th year anniversary, gave us the right to vote but we want more. We want true equality guaranteed in the United States Constitution," said Devane.
DeVane says arguments against the move paint a false narrative about what the amendment is.
"Whenever the republicans talk about the ERA and we are already getting their talking point, first thing they say is we don’t need it the ERA is just symbolic," said Devane.
DeVane says those in opposition say the 14th amendment which prohibits states from denying equal protection to a person should be enough. But Linda Michalewicz with the National Council of Jewish Women disagrees.
"Now you’d think that 14th amendment would’ve satisfied those women but no less an authority than the late Justice Antonin Scalia said the 14th amendment doesn’t cover women, and for once we agree with him," said Michalewicz.
Michalewicz says another false narrative about the amendment is that it only helps women.
"There are many sex discrimination cases filed all the time by men some of which go to the Supreme Court, and they don’t always turn out very well for the men. So the equal rights amendment would not only women but men too," said Michalewicz
Leon County Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox says the amendment is needed so that the gender pay gap can be closed.
"We know that for the dollar 71 percent of that dollar is earned by the white female, by the black female – which you can see that I am a part of that community – is 61 percent. And even worse for our Hispanic sisters 53 percent," explained Williams-Cox.
Miami Democratic Representative Dotie Joseph and Jacksonville Minority Leader Senator Audrey Gibson will be sponsoring a bill this session to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.