Equal Means Equal Film Screening
Join AUSB in commemoration of Women’s Equality Day on Thursday, August 24 at 6:15pm for a free screening of the documentary film Equal Means Equal at the Santa Barbara Public Library, Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
This event is hosted by the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee (SBWPC) and the Santa Barbara Public Library. Antioch University’s Women & Leadership Certificate program co-supports this special film event, organized by the Young Feminists and ERA Committees, along side local organizations and chapters including Black Lives Matter Santa Barbara, Women’s March Santa Barbara, County of Santa Barbara Commission for Women, Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund, Indivisible Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Progressive Coalition.
Equal Means Equal is a groundbreaking exploration of gender inequality in the USA featuring top women’s rights activist, leaders, and survivors. A brutal expose of a broken system, the film reignites the dialog on a full legal equality for all Americans.
Almost a century after gaining the right to vote, women still do not have the equal protection under the United States Constitution that the ERA would provide. Many Americans assume that such a basic assurance is contained within our federal laws, as it is included in some state constitutions and in the federal law of many other countries around the world. Sadly, this is not the case. Although the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was proposed decades ago as an amendment to the US Constitution to ensure equality, it failed to pass after falling only three states short of ratification. When presented with the reality that we don’t have this basic protection, many react with understandable shock and confusion: how could this be?
Without the ERA, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that the rights it protects are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex. The right to vote, granted in 1923, is the first—and still the only—right specifically affirmed as equal for women and men. An amendment to the constitution is needed to affirm at a national level that the bedrock principles of our democracy (“all men are created equal,” “liberty and justice for all,” “equal justice under law,” “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”) apply equally to women.
For young women especially, who may not have been fully aware of (or alive for) the initial ERA campaign, the amendment’s elusiveness is confounding. Such basic protection is expected by young women, many of whom have grown up with the promise that they can be anything they want to be. However, the realities young women face in the world often fail to live up to these expectations. And, while the long fight and previous failures demonstrate the difficulty of securing equal protection under the law, young women are increasingly unwilling to settle for the status quo, getting involved in greater numbers in events like the Women’s March and organizations like Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee (SBWPC).
In the last few years, a renewed effort to ratify the ERA has gained momentum. Political volatility means that federal protection of equality is needed now more than ever, and women like Kamala Lopez, director of the film Equal Means Equal, aim to make that abundantly clear.
Catherine J. Swysen, President, SBWPC
(805) 689-6605 or (805) 962-4887