Eleanor Smeal and Martha Burke have a piece in today’s Washington Post explaining why we need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment:

“Why is the amendment needed? Twenty-three countries — including Sri Lanka and Moldova — have smaller gender gaps in education, politics and health than the United States, according to the World Economic Forum. We are 68th in the world in women’s participation in national legislatures. On average, a woman working full time and year-round still makes only 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Women hold 98 percent of the low-paying ‘women’s’ jobs and fewer than 15 percent of the board seats at major corporations. Because their private pensions — if they have them at all — are lower and because Social Security puts working women at a disadvantage and grants no credit for years spent at home caring for children or aging parents, three-quarters of the elderly in poverty are women. And in every state except Montana, women still pay higher rates than similarly situated men for almost all kinds of insurance. All that could change if we put equal rights for women in our Constitution.”

There are numerous flaws in all the “facts” cited to justify the ERA. The wage gap, for example, almost vanishes if the right data is fed into the factoring. (See below, the item on comparable worth.) Young women now outnumber young men on college campuses.

We have a female Speaker of the House and a woman is running for president. I can’t believe that women are better off in the 67 countries, whatever they are, that have a larger percentage of women as national legislators. Social Security is garnered from our wages, and, if people such as the authors want to change this, there must be a thoroughgoing debate about Social Security and the solvency of the program.

I can’t speak to insurance issues, but I’ll bet the rates, if the information cited in the op-ed is accurate, are based on actuarial figures rather than any anti-woman bias.