Macedonia, OH - Civic engagement and solving real world issues is just as much a part of Girl Scouts as selling cookies, camping, and earning badges. Girl Scout Troop 50439 of Oberlin, Ohio jumped into action when they saw a way to advocate for equal rights for women. It started in their Junior year with a conversation during a troop meeting, when Lili Sandler, one of the troop volunteers, talked to the girls about the history of women’s rights in the United States. The girls were shocked to learn that even in the year 2020, women’s rights are still not explicitly guaranteed. This sparked a need for change in the minds of these Girl Scout Juniors, and they got to work instantly to fight for equal rights, beginning with researching the history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
The six girls, ages 10-11 year’s old discovered that the push for equal rights heated up in the 1920’s after women gained the right to vote. The ERA was originally passed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification with a deadline. To pass the amendment, 38 states were needed to sign it. The ERA was left at a standstill. Then, after 38 years, Virginia ratified the amendment on January 27, 2020. This was the last ratification needed to update the Constitution, but without the deadline removed, the ERA is once again at a standstill. The only way it will pass is if the Senate removes the deadline, and that is exactly what Troop 50539 planned to fight for!
They reached out to the Oberlin City Council and attended multiple meetings – even virtual meetings due to COVID-19. They lobbied the city council to voice their support of the ERA to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), pushing for another permanent fixture for women’s rights in the Constitution. Bringing closure to the ERA is needed, as the 14th Amendment doesn’t go far enough to permanently fix women’s rights in the Constitution.
After making their case to the Oberlin City Council and putting their powerful words into action, Troop 50439 was successful in getting Oberlin to back Senate Joint Resolution 6, which eliminates the deadline for the ratification of ERA. Thanks to this troop’s perseverance and dedication, women are closer to having equal rights in the United States. From the wise words of Lili Sandler, “These girls learned they have every right to talk to their local government, be involved, and to be brave in speaking up for what’s right.”