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Approved by National Board, September 7, 2013

Americans for Democratic Action reaffirms its view that the women of the United States have not yet achieved full economic, social, or legal equality and are still denied the same opportunities available to men. Women should be treated equally in all aspects of American life.

The legislative gains achieved by women are under constant attack and are being modified, eliminated, or rendered ineffective through the lack of enforcement. While several forward-looking states have included Equal Rights Amendments to the states’ constitutions, the women and men of our nation do not enjoy equal protection of the law. ADA seeks, and will continue to work for, the passage of a federal Equal Rights Amendment, which is long overdue and will provide a constitutional safeguard for the equal treatment of women under the law. ADA will also continue its efforts for the introduction and passage of state ERAs.

While progress in achieving equity for women was significant, if slow, in the second half of the 20th century, the 21st century has brought even slower progress and, indeed, notable retrogression . Civil rights for women recognized by custom, by congressional enactments and by decision s of the federal courts are seriously violated and endangered and require enhanced attention by the United States Department of Justice. ADA calls on Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to expand the Civil Rights Division to give additional priority to issues of equity for women. The Department of Justice should add to the Civil Rights Division a women’s section to undertake an energetic new portfolio protecting and enhancing women’s rights, including, but not limited to:

• Reproductive rights,
• Economic justice,
• Ending sex discrimination, and
• Preventing violence against women.

Specifically, this new section of the Civil Rights Division should examine all of these areas for federal and state compliance with custom, congressional enactments, and decisions for the federal courts, and then issue findings in cases of purposeful non-compliance, initiate enforcement litigation, and make recommendations for corrective administrative and legislative action.