Standing up for women's rights! Meryl Streep took the occasion of her 66th birthday to do her bit for feminism by lobbying each individual Congress member, urging them to revive the now-defunct Equal Rights Amendment, and add it to the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment, which was written in 1920, would provide legal necessity for women to be treated as equal to men. Although finally passed by Congress in 1972, the Equal Right Amendment (ERA), which states “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," has been stalled since 1982. At present, only 35 states have ratified it, which is three short of the 38 states needed to add it to the Constitution.
The Associated Press reports that Streep (who plays Emmeline Pankhurst in her latest movie Suffragette) has taken her mission to a personal level, writing letters to each and every Congress member, also enclosing a book on the topic — Equal Means Equal, by ERA Coalition president Jessica Neuwirth.
"A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality — equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights,” the three-time Oscar-winning actress, who celebrated her birthday on Monday, June 22, wrote. "I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality — for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife, or yourself — by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment."
Streep's action comes hot on the heels of Patricia Arquette's speech at the Oscars this year when she used the opportunity to bring up the issue of equal pay for women (and was heavily cheered by Streep for doing so).
"It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America," Arquette said as she took the stage to accept her gong.
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