Meryl Streep is no stranger to bold displays of enthusiasm for gender equality, and it appears that her momentum is only growing. The Associated Press reports that Streep has mailed letters to every member of Congress reminding them that the U.S. Constitution still does not include an Equal Rights Amendment. Written in 1920 and finally passed by Congress in 1972, the ERA — which states that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” — has been stalled since 1982. Currently, only 35 states have ratified it — three short of the 38 states needed to add it to the Constitution.
“A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality — equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights,” Streep wrote. “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.” Each package also included a copy of Equal Means Equal, written by ERA Coalition president Jessica Neuwirth.
California congresswoman Jackie Speier (D) has already announced her support — adding such an amendment is long overdue. “The time is ripe to ratify the equal rights amendment. Seventy percent of people polled think that we already have an ERA in the Constitution and they’re shocked to find we don’t have one,” she said.