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Faculty Mentor

Dr. Randi Storch


This paper analyzes right-wing women’s resistance to the Equal Rights Amendment by using Phyllis Schlafly as a case study. It questions her reasoning, and by extension the anti-ERA women she represents, for opposing an amendment widely understood to make progress toward achieving gender equality. This analysis asserts that Schlafly denounced the amendment because she believed it would attack the rights of housewives, give the federal government excessive power, and hurt women already equal before the law in the ways that mattered. Books and articles about conservative women’s stance against leftist women’s movements and interviews where Schlafly discussed her anti-ERA agenda support this argument. With the ERA resurging in contemporary politics, echoes of Phyllis Schlafly’s sentiments from the 1970s can be heard. In understanding why a person might support agendas perceived to operate against them, historians can gain a deeper understanding of the past to better inform the present.

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Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, Phyllis Schlafly, Anti-ERA Activism, Transformations


History | History of Gender | United States History | Women's History

Why a Woman Was Against Her Own Equality: Understanding Phyllis Schlafly's Opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment