"Democracy in Peril?" Talk at JMU Addresses the ERA

Jan 15, 2019

Local AAUW activist Sylvia Rogers (left) and anthropology professor Megan Tracy answer questions at the “Democracy in Peril?” forum at James Madison University
Credit Anna Saunders

A monthly series on current events known as “Democracy in Peril?” took on the topic of the Equal Rights Amendment last night at James Madison University. WMRA’s Anna Saunders reports.

The Equal Rights Amendment, known as the ERA, could be voted on in the Virginia State Senate as soon as today, which made the topic of last night’s discussion a timely one.

The featured speaker was Megan Tracy, an anthropology professor at JMU. She joined the “VA Ratify ERA” movement last summer. If ratified, the ERA is designed to guarantee all American citizens equal rights regardless of sex.

MEGAN TRACY: It’s simply ridiculous that we do not have a statement about gender equality in the Constitution.

Tracy talked about how the ERA was passed by Congress in 1972, but is waiting on the 38th state to ratify which could be Virginia. Tracy says those who oppose the ERA in the Republican Party do so most commonly on the grounds of “unintended consequences.”

TRACY: I think that there is enough precedence, enough intervening time, that we have a good sense of what the ERA can do and what it won’t do.

Sylvia Rogers has been a member of the American Association of University Women for 20 years, and she gave a brief opening history on the fight for gender equality.

Although she has been a contender in this fight for a long time, it is her mother who keeps her going. Rogers’ mother will turn 100 this July, and she has one birthday request: the ratification of the ERA.

SYLVIA ROGERS: My mother would be, I can just see her, she is already so tickled to be doing something like this. She would just be ecstatic.