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Originally published by Queens Gazette on July 19, 2023

Carolyn B. Maloney officially ringing the Nasdaq Closing Bell in honor of the Equal Rights Amendment and Women’s Equal­ity. Directly behind the podium (from l.): are Sally Greenspan (Downtown Women for Change), Lisa Sales (President of Vir­ginia NOW), Asia Khan (founder of the Sign4ERA Initiative), Carolyn B. Maloney, Zakiya Thomas (President & CEO of ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality), Aarush Santoshi (Generation Ratify), and Elizabeth Hemmerdinger (The Feminist Majority). Photo courtesy of Nasdaq, Inc.

Hon. Carolyn B. Maloney was joined by the student founders of the Sign4ERA Ini­tiative at Hunter College and other women’s rights leaders to ring the Nasdaq Closing Bell in support of women’s equal­ity.

The Sign4ERA Initiative — a product of a course taught at Hunter by Maloney, who serves at Roosevelt House as the Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leader in Resi­dence — pressures Congress to pass HJ 25 and SJ 4, clearing the way for the Equal Rights Amendment to become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

To kick-off their campaign, the initia­tive began a national petition drive in April of 2023. The petition, which already has over 27,000 signatures, has garnered sup­port from such prominent people as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Gloria Steinem, and Alyssa Milano. The petition can be seen at

The ERA cleared all requirements of Ar­ticle 5 of the Constitution — passage through the House, passage through the Senate, and ratification by 38 states — when Virginia ratified it in 2020. Although ratified, Congress has yet to formally rec­ognize the amendment, which is necessary for its implementation into the Constitution.

The ERA would add Constitutional backing to gains already made in gender equality – like reproductive health care, ed­ucational opportunities, and financial rights. With the ERA these rights would be universal across all states and could not be randomly reversed by the courts, or the President. It would also allow for legislative progress such as the enforcement of equal pay for equal work, providing more protec­tion for domestic violence victims and the LGBTQ+ community, and restoring legal access to the right to choose.

“For decades, women have fought for equal rights under the law, and the ERA was designed to enshrine those rights in the Constitution,” said Asia Khan, a founder of the Sign4ERA initiative. “We owe more to our mothers, grandmothers, and to our­selves.” Khan ended by urging attendees to sign the petition, “This petition will change lives and redefine our future.”

“It is not lost on me that while we stand at the pillar of the financial world, we do not stand as a pillar for American women. While women outperform the market, the market devalues them,” said Lisa Sales, President of Virginia NOW. “While women and our labor are the backbones of Amer­ica, more than half our population is not recognized in our Constitution.”

Sally Greenspan, of Downtown Women for Change, said, “It is shameful that in 2023 we are still discussing whether women should be equal to men in the United States of America. Shocking that women still have limited access to compre­hensive healthcare, remain victims of un­equal pay and confront sexual harassment in the workplace and domestic violence at home.”

Ting Ting Cheng, a representative from the Columbia Law School ERA Project said, “Equality is a guiding principle in our democracy and the ERA will center the lived experiences and voices of women of color, who have the most to gain from the ERA, and who are last to benefit from progress in our society. It is up to all of us to craft a 21st century sex equality para­digm to fully account for how sex and race discrimination intersect with one another – because the ERA is for everyone, especially those who need it the most.

Maloney and the Sign4ERA Initiative will join other women’s leaders at the ERA Centennial Convention in Seneca Falls from July 21-22. There, they will take part in educational ERA sessions, tour historic sites, and march in the ERA Centennial Rally.