Meryl Streep Urges Congress to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment

Do you remember that exhilarating moment at the Academy Awards this year when Patricia Arquette took the stage to accept the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Boyhood”? Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez hooted and hollered when Patricia spoke out about wage equality and equal rights for women in America.

Now Meryl Streep is taking her support for the Equal Rights Amendment a few steps further.

Today 535 letters personally signed by Meryl Streep were delivered to every Member of Congress. The letters urge lawmakers to support 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,” Ms. Streep wrote. “The ERA is not just a women’s rights issue,” she noted, “it will have a meaningful benefit for the whole human family.”

With each letter, Meryl Streep enclosed a copy of the book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for the ERA is Now, by Jessica Neuwirth. Ms. Neuwirth, the founder and President of the ERA Coalition,  said she wrote the book “to show the urgent need for the ERA, highlighting the cases of real women who have suffered harm and were unable to get the legal protection they should have from the Constitution.”

The ERA Coalition was founded last year to build a broader base of public support for ongoing efforts to put the ERA into the Constitution. Ms. Streep joins a growing number of prominent individuals and celebrities who have publicly reaffirmed their commitment to the Equal Rights Amendment including former President Jimmy Carter, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterson, Patricia Arquette, Chelsea Handler, Rashida Jones,  Taylor Schilling and Gloria Steinem, who serves on the board of the ERA Coalition.

Patricia Arquette is Executive Producer of a soon-to-be-released documentary film, EQUAL MEANS EQUAL, by writer and director Kamala Lopez. The documentary takes an unflinching look at where American women find themselves and makes an irrefutable case for their full, legal equality.

In solidarity with Jessica Neuwirth’s book, Lopez said, “When I began this journey six years ago, I never could have imagined the scope of what I would learn. I discovered that despite multiple laws in place that purport to protect American women, the reality was far from equal in area after area. Ratifying the ERA would put American women’s civil and human rights on a solid immovable foundation, impervious to the winds of political change.”

Several bills related to the ERA have been recently introduced in Congress by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) in the House, and by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the Senate.

The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in 1972. It had been ratified by 35 states when the deadline for ratification expired in 1982, just three states short of the 38 states needed to put the ERA into the Constitution.

Today Meryl Streep is making headlines with her appeal to Members of Congress to put the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution. Now is the time for you to speak out too. With your voice, we can reach a tipping point. Send your letter here.


Tabby Biddle, M.S.Ed., is a women’s rights advocate, writer and leadership coach, specializing in helping women find their voice. She is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action, now available in paperback. Get your copy here.