01/08/2013 04:35 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2013

Women in America's History

Families immigrated to America from England. All helped create "a new world." Men went to Philadelphia to organize a nation. Women ran farms and businesses. Abigail Adams cautioned husband John to "Remember the ladies... all men would be tyrants if they could."

Men gave themselves -- male property holders only -- the vote in 1776. Yet it took all Americans to defeat the British.

Women supported men who fought. Some helped husbands on the battlefield; others protected homes and livelihoods. Today women serve in combat roles.

America celebrated its Centennial in 1876. When the men finished speaking, Susan B. Anthony stepped to the podium to speak; she was escorted out of the building. Women distributed flyers as people left. The flyers contained a Declaration of the Rights of Women and advocated for women's rights.

Women pursued their rights and were beaten, jailed and force-fed. Many died. Women fought for 80 more years for equal rights which had been promised to all in the constitution.

Women and men worked for abolition. After a vicious costly civil war, the word "male" was added to the constitution to allow black males -- but not black females -- to vote. Then women knew they would have to get another amendment to gain equality in their own land

After World War I President Woodrow Wilson could no longer withhold the right to vote from women. He knew America couldn't have survived the war without women's work and support.

The suffrage bill passed in 1919 and women voted in 1920. One hundred forty-four years after American men gave themselves the right to vote, American women finally got the right.

Dr. Alice Paul wrote the Equal Rights Amendment. Introduced into every Congress from 1923 through 1972, it finally passed. Congress placed a time-limit on ratification -- one of five in our history. Thirty-five of 38 needed states ratified. Time ran out. A short-term extension was not sufficient. We need three more. Today seven states are ready to ratify.

Congress passed the ERA 40 years ago. Today United for Equality supports a joint resolution to remove the time limit. Time doesn't matter -- the most recent amendment (# 27) was ratified 203 years after its passage. What matters is that Congress must remove the time-limit so we can complete the process.

We can fulfill America's Promise of equal rights to all citizens. I could call for all women to withhold paying taxes until we are included in the constitution.But I am being reasonable. All I ask is that readers call elected officials and ask them to vote to remove the time-limit so the ERA can be ratified!

Call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at 1-877-762-8762. Ask for your Representative's office. Ask her/him to co-sponsor and support H.J. Res. 47. Then call again. Ask for your Senator's office. Ask him/her to co-sponsor and support S.J. Res. 39.

Congress has held women down for too long. America has been in existence for 236 years, yet women -- a majority population -- are still not recognized as full citizens in our constitution. We must pass the ERA to grant full constitutional protection and citizenship to women! And we must do it now!

To do less says that it is all right for women to continue to be considered as--and treated as--second class citizens.