Last night, with a required three-fifths vote (72-45) in the state House, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. In April, the Illinois Senate had voted 43-12 to ratify. We are now only one state short of guaranteeing women’s equality in the U.S. Constitution.

A mega coalition of Illinois women’s groups has been working consistently for literally decades to make this happen. We salute the more than 50 groups that supported the Illinois ratification and their leaders. In the era of the Women’s Marches and the national movement to end sexual harassment, Illinois’s ratification is a massive step forward for women.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority who has been working for ERA ratification for 47 years, said “Every roadblock imaginable has been thrown up against the Equal Rights Amendment, yet we have persisted! Since Alice Paul first authored the ERA in 1923, generations of feminist women have struggled to make constitutional equality a reality.”

Smeal continued, “The ERA has continued to gain greater and greater momentum. Ratification efforts are proceeding and intensifying in numerous states, including Virginia, which experienced an overwhelming feminist victory in the 2017 state elections. National, state, and local efforts will persist until equality is ours!”