Republicans Once Supported Equal Rights For Women But Then Went Steeply Downhill
The platform of the 1940 Republican Convention called for an equal rights amendment for women to be added to the Constitution. The convention, held in
Philadelphia, nominated Wendell Willkie for President.
The specific platform language used was—“We favor submission by Congress to the states an amendment to the Constitution providing for equal rights for men and women.”
Republican platform support such an amendment remained through the 1976 convention. It was the 1980 convention that nominated Ronald Reagan which turned its back on the amendment.
The time to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970’s ended in 1982. At that point, 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the ERA. Most of the states which did not ratify the ERA were Southern states. The most notable exception from outside the South was Illinois.
Some hold the amendment is still a live issue and if three more states sign-on it will be ratified. That’s an issue for the courts and for a more favorable political climate.
One thing is more certain—One of the many causalities of modern far-right Republican politics was a longstanding commitment to equality for women.