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1980 Democratic Convention by Jo Freeman

I - The Women

As a result of new party rules, 49.8 percent of the 3,338 delegates were women, slightly less than the half required by the new party Charter.

a group of women in heavy discussion

The Coalition for Women's Rights, an ad hoc group of feminist leaders, was created to support feminist planks in the Democratic Platform. Discussing floor strategy are Betty Friedan, Koryne Horbal, Bella Abzug, and Ellie Smeal. Read Jo Freeman's article "Feminist Coalition Faces Down the Carter Campaign."


Gloria Steinem at the podiium in front of a full audence and many balloons in the aisle
Gloria Steinem, who sat on the Democratic Platform Committee,
speaks to the women's caucus.

A sea of "Life" signs dominate an overhead shot of the crowd

A minority report strengthening the plank on reproductive freedom in the Democratic Platform was debated Tuesday night. "Pro-life" won the battle of the signs but lost the vote.

a large crowd shot reveals a crowd holding many pro-ERA posters alongside Carter posters

Support for the Equal Right Amendment was already in the Democratic Party Platform. It had been sent by Congress to the states in 1972, but with a seven-year deadline for ratification. When that date arrived, only 35 of the necessary 38 states had ratified. Congress extended the deadline by three years.

a man holds a sign reading ERA yes on #1, while in the background is another sign reading Equal Rights Equals Civil Rights

Another minority report strengthened the ERA plank by stating that the party would withhold all financial support from any Democratic candidate who did not support the ERA. Feminists hoped that this would convince enough Democrats in at least three state legislatures to support ratification. The minority report passed, but no more states ratified the ERA.

in a sea of ERA posters and sashes, one reading Draft Schlafly stands out
A popular sentiment about the woman who organized the defeat of the ERA.

Many women hold a gigantic fabric sign reading NC united for ERA
North Carolina never ratified the ERA, though it passed one house.

A female deligate is covered in ERA buttons and sunflowers An asian-american female deligate holds a sign reading All People Are Created Equal ERA 82 A female deligate wears an ERA sash and shouts while holding a sign, many others hold thesame sign in the crowd


An older female deligate wears a National Education Association sash and a large ERA sign An African American female deligate wears many ERA related buttons and a National Education Association sash A male deligate wears a National Education Association sash and a large ERA sign
Nine percent of all delegates 302 delegates from 47 states were members of the National Education Association. Virtually all of them supported the ERA, and Carter.

The Women
The Protests
The Convention

Pages: Intro 1 2 3


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