Status Quo

Documentary argues U.S. needs to add women’s equality to the Constitution

Supporters march in Chicago in support of the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution (Getty)

Baffled by the fact that the United States of America still has not enshrined equality between the sexes in its Constitution, filmmaker Kamala Lopez set out to make Equal Means Equal, a documentary executive produced by Patricia Arquette, which was released on Tuesday. “The film,” she writes in The Guardian, “is a comprehensive argument for finally giving American women what everybody thinks they already have, a basic principle that the United States exports all over the rest of the world: equal rights for women.” Lopez argues that since women were given the right to vote in 1920, nothing at all has changed in the constitution to protect women’s rights. Nevertheless, women in the U.S. still live in perilous times, she argues, citing issues as human trafficking, the wage gap, rape culture, and sexism in the workplace. “In Equal Means Equal you see how all of these seemingly disparate issues connect and how dealing with solving extremely practical questions are completely skirted by both government and business and placed squarely on women’s shoulders to figure out,” she writes.

Current legal protections — such as the equal protection clause or Title IX and Title VII —  are not enough. “Why? Because those are ephemeral things, at the mercy of fickle states and changing political tides. You have only to look at the Lily Ledbetter debacle to see how easy it is to subvert the law if your intentions are not pure. The only thing that will suffice, is to include us in the Constitution. It is the guarantee from one generation to the next that our rights cannot simply be abrogated at the whims of others or the fashion of the times,” she writes, using her documentary to call on everyone to transform the status quo. “The Equal Rights Amendment is a matter of principle. It is who we say we are as a nation,” Lopez argues. “We owe this to the girls here and those not yet born. And most importantly, we owe this to ourselves. Because the bottom line is that until we, as women, truly value ourselves, individually and collectively, no one will ever value us.”

Watch the trailer for Equal Means Equal below.


Read the full story at The Guardian.

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