Speaking at the Telluride film festival on the weekend, actress Meryl Streep revealed she received only five responses after writing personally to all 535 members of the U.S. Congress, calling for the introduction of new equality laws. “I sent them each a book called Equal Means Equal by Jessica Neuwirth,” said Streep, who plays British women’s rights campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst in the forthcoming film Suffragette, which screened at the festival. “It’s about the revival of the attempt to get an ERA [Equal Rights Amendment], that would codify in law that you can’t discriminate against women.” Streep’s letter was first reported on in June. In it, she appealed to members of Congress to support the ERA, and “stand up for equality – for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself.” Streep told the assembled crowd that her grandmother had not had the right to vote, and that her own feminist instincts had been nurtured as a child by hearing her parents discuss money. Even though her mother worked as a commercial artist, Streep said, she had to ask her husband for cash. “I remember thinking, ‘I will never have to ask anybody for money. I will have my own money.’”
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