Meryl Streep sent letters to every member of Congress to revive the ERA


Meryl Streep celebrated her 66th birthday earlier this week. To celebrate, she decided to send letters to every member of Congress asking them to revive the Equal Rights Amendment. You can read the Wiki for the ERA here – it’s a fascinating history and it’s amazing to think about how close women came to across-the-board constitutionally guaranteed equality. It’s also pretty amazing to reflect back on how the ERA pitted various feminist movements against each other. Well, we might get a repeat of that.

Meryl Streep has signed a letter being sent to every single member of Congress, urging them to revive a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights for women.

“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 wrote in the message.

Each of her letters were sent to Capitol Hill along with a copy of the book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for the ERA is Now by Jessica Neuwirth, president of the ERA Coalition, which was founded last year to rally a broader base of public support for the amendment.

The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972, stating, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by any state on account of sex.” But only 35 states ratified it over the next 10 years, three short of the 38-state minimum needed to add it to the Constitution, and the issue stalled. Since then, the Associated Press notes, lawmakers from both political parties have regularly tried to restart the process.

[From EW]

While I would like to see the ERA debate revived, I honestly don’t have much hope that it will ever pass. Still, it would force so many discussions and it would ensure that many elected representatives would have to go on the record about why they believed why women should be paid less, or why women should have less reproductive freedom than men and on and on.

Meryl is very politically active across the board, but one of my favorite pieces of Meryl’s activism is her work to create the Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC. Go here to read more about that.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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24 Responses to “Meryl Streep sent letters to every member of Congress to revive the ERA”

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  1. Abbott says:

    Good on her.

    (Suffragette opens in the theater near you October 23)

    • BangersandMash says:

      Will be there.

      She really looks out for women, this woman. She walks the walk. And she does it looking like a total minx.

      No more excuses ladies… 😉

  2. Kiddo says:

    Good for Meryl, and on a shallow note, she is SO pulling off that look. I love it on her.

  3. Bee says:

    I’m always a bit skeptical when people do stuff like this when they have a related film to promote. Suffragette comes out in a few months.

    • Beth No. 2 says:

      Yep. Well at least this movie is not distributed by Weinstein so there are hopes that the campaign would be done more tastefully.

      The trailer for the movie looks good though, and I’m rooting for Carey Mulligan.

    • Kiddo says:

      I see your point Bee, but I also think that sometimes actors and actresses are educated/motivated by the films they are involved in.

      • belle de jour says:


        In addition: at this point, Meryl Effin Streep does not necessarily need stunt publicity, a fatter paycheck or more attention to any single project in order to solidify her legacy or bolster her stance on any issue.

        I think this is coming from her heart – not to mention years of experience in the industry and in the culture. She can – and does – speak her mind.

        P.S. Outfit is fab, and she totally pulls it off. With gusto.

      • Kiddo says:

        Conversely, she may be using the film as a teaching moment to bring forth something she already stood behind. She may have taken the role specifically for the same purpose.

        And yes, that outfit. It looks fab, and something I could never ever wear, without looking like a complete tool.

      • lucy2 says:

        Yeah, she’s been outspoken for women’s rights for ages, and I don’t think she needs to or cares to campaign for more acting awards.

    • Veronica says:

      She’s been campaigning for this for years, though. We routinely get mailings from her program regarding women’s issues in our mailbox. Timing it with Suffragette was probably entirely intentional as a way of stirring up both interest in the film and feminist support.

  4. lisa2 says:

    I’m actually surprise people are saying something about the timing.. I know it would happen with a lot of other celebs. I’m a bit shocked that people are with Meryl.

  5. LAK says:

    I’m genuinely flummoxed that there is still a debate about this.

    I understand the arguments over issues that are still ratifying, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but a debate about the foundation? In this time and age?

    Shouldn’t this be a commonsensical rubber stamp?


    • Lilacflowers says:

      Especially since it was first introduced in Congress in 1923. Pass it, ratify it, and put Alice Paul on the $20 bill

      • wolfpup says:

        I believe that people would really take note if a beautiful black woman (like Rosa Parks) were on our legal tender: it’s time to connect the dots for all Americans.

    • lucy2 says:

      It is incredible that this debate is still happening in 2015. I can’t understand anyone arguing against equal rights of any kind.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Our Congress is actively trying to neuter or abolish the Voting Rights Act so nothing surprises me

      • Alice says:

        Oh, we would have same sex bathrooms. And women in combat. Those were actual arguments the last time it was tried.

        (I should make it clear that some argued that men and women would have to use the same BR and that was a reason to be against the ERA)

  6. GPSB says:

    While there may not be a general history women’s museum in D.C., there *is* the National Museum of Women in the Arts and it’s one for your itineraries if you happen through the city:

  7. Sixer says:

    Wait, wait. What gender equality legislation DO you guys have? Is this a first step on legislating for gender equality or a symbolic thing to get it in the constitution? Please, kind Celebitches, someone give me a primer on the state of the legal gender nation stateside.

    Our anti-discrimination legislation – gender, race, faith, age, disability – is all under the same legislative umbrella and has been for a while now. The latest incarnation is the Equality Act 2010: But we’ve had gender discrimination legislation since the 1970s.

    • LAK says:

      I’m equally agog…..

      I can’t believe the US is still having this debate. To extent that they can’t get upto the required 38 state signatories?!

      Every time I read US debates on things like reproductive rights and how some people want to repeal some of the rights already instituted, i’m agog….

      Then again, i’m from the militant generation. The way people are moving backwards has me agog!!!

      • belle de jour says:

        Yesssss to the militant ERA generation! I fear a certain complacency set in before the battle here was officially (and legally) set to rights… but that it’s time for it to resurface yet again.

  8. NEENAZEE says:

    The Streep is amaze-balls… it saddens me that Kylie Jenner’s selfie addiction post got six times as many comments as this one did.

    • Petrichor says:

      Yep–came here specifically to up the comment # by 1. Love Meryl and support any action towards equal rights. I completely agree with Belle above: the problem is complacency and has been for a long time. That needs to change.

  9. briargal says:

    Sorry people but if Isis has it’s way we won’t be worrying about ERA. Remember what they do to women??? There are more important issues facing this country than ERA.