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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores three gender-related constitutional revolutions: the doubling of the size of the electorate by adding women, constitutionalization of the right to obtain an abortion, and constitutionalization of a rule that gender discrimination in statutes is generally frowned upon. The first revolution was made possible by official constitutional amendment, and the last two through the unofficial “amending” of the U.S. Constitution with the help of Supreme Court decision-making. The chapter first looks at the constitutional neglect of inequalities suffered by women during the period 1787–1920, followed by a discussion on equal protection accorded to women in 1868–1976, which culminated in the enactment of the women’s suffrage Nineteenth Amendment on August 18, 1920. It then considers the sexual revolution in constitutional law between 1971 and 1976, with particular emphasis on the Equal Rights Amendment and its impact on gender equity and reproductive freedom (and other new fundamental rights).

Keywords: women, abortion, gender discrimination, constitutional amendment, Constitution, Supreme Court, inequalities, women suffrage, Equal Rights Amendment, gender equity

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