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Aren’t equal rights already guaranteed to women in the US Constitution?

Most people think so, but they’re wrong. As John Oliver points out in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, that’s why women (and their male allies) have fought for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment for almost a century now.

Nearly half a century has passed since the Senate ratified the ERA in 1972. And with passage in 37 states, only one more state legislature needs to ratify the amendment to make it law. What would happen if the ERA finally passes? Why has ratification taken so long? And how can America finally break through to guarantee equality?

What sounds dry and wonkish becomes mischief in Oliver’s hands — especially his tender treatment of right-wing gargoyles like the late Phyllis Schlafly who stood in ERA’s way.

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If you've seen videos of people who took part in the U.S. Capitol riot weeping in shock after being barred from boarding their flights home, you may feel as Oscar Wilde did upon reading a tragic passage from a Charles Dickens novel: "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing." But schadenfreude is not a good basis for government policy.

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