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Landmark Gender Equality Legislation Passes House with Bonamici’s Support

March 17, 2021
Press Release
Bills protect against gender-based violence, discrimination

WASHINGTON, DC [03/17/21] –Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici helped the House pass two landmark bills for gender equality, H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), and H.J.Res.17, to remove a barrier to final ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). VAWA is bipartisan legislation that will protect people facing intimate partner violence. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), once adopted, will enshrine in the Constitution protections against sex discrimination.


“Today we are marking Women’s History Month with two historic bills that will advance equality, safety, and justice for women,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “The Violence Against Women Act provides crucial protections and supports to survivors of domestic violence, and funds prevention programs. Tragically, every month in this country more than 50 women are shot and killed by abusive partners, and many more are injured or intimidated by firearms. This important update to VAWA will help to keep firearms away from dangerous domestic abusers and provide law enforcement with tools to intervene when someone tries to illegally obtain firearms.


“In addition to increased rates of sexual and domestic violence, women also face barriers to full equality, including unequal pay, pregnancy discrimination, and inadequate access to health care. A patchwork of laws and precedents do not provide sufficient protection against sexism and inequality. Throughout my lifetime women have been organizing for an Equal Rights Amendment that will finally secure gender equality, and I am thrilled to vote today to advance the movement for women’s rights.”


The Violence Against Women Act was last reauthorized in 2013 and lapsed in 2019, despite the Congresswoman’s efforts to promptly reauthorize and restore the program. The December 2020 year-end funding package allocated $513.5 million to the Violence Against Women programs.


Congress approved the ERA in 1972, but set a time limit for 38 states to ratify the amendment. In recent years Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia have all voted to ratify the ERA, bringing the total to 38 states. H.J.Res.17 would remove the arbitrary time limit for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and allow the amendment to become law.