Women’s Equality Day, a nationally recognized holiday, will be the at the center of a forum Texas Tech is hosting today in recognition of the importance of women’s rights and to encourage discussion about this issue.

The forum will be located in Room 153 of the Teaching and Learning Technology Center and begins at noon, Patricia Earl, the forum director, said. Guests are invited to enter the campus through its main entrance at University Avenue and Broadway Street and request directions at the entrance kiosk.

Earl, the coordinator of the women’s studies department at Tech, said the discussion would concern the Equal Rights Amendment, which is currently being debated in Congress.

The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in 1923 to affirm men and women deserve equal rights under law, according to the Equal Rights Amendment website. It needs three more states to be ratified into law, thus meeting the required 38.

A two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives and Senate also could result in ratification of the potential 28th Amendment, according to the website.

The forum is intended to spark debate from both sides about the Equal Rights Amendment, Earl said, and reassess the debate in a time when much progress has been made for women’s equality.

“What are the new proponents saying today about the ERA?” Earl said. “I feel like we’ve surpassed those reaching stereotypes or assumptions, and that if you have equal rights, then XYZ is going to happen.”

There are too many people fighting for very specific aspects of women’s rights, Earl said. A broader approach could be what is needed to accomplish the goal of passing this amendment.

“Some might say that it’s better to focus on one thing rather than 20,” Earl said.   

Sarah White, who also works in the women’s studies department, said she thinks it is great to have this forum so the students can come together and discuss this issue.

“In every discipline, you have a need to talk about this,” White said. “In Lubbock, some people don’t even know feminists exist.”

This forum is important because it gives the attending audience chances to participate in the discussion, and the directors of the forum are happy to hear what people have to say, Earl said.

“I definitely think that having a day like this is very important,” Corie Hernandez, an adviser in support operations at Tech, said. “I think that, as a university, it shows what we value in our students, and what we feel is necessary to empower them to be successful.”

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