“This bill is about equality, period,” said State Senator Pat Spearman, pointing to a raft of well-documented studies of continuing inequality. For example, the gap in earnings between women and men will not close until the year 2058, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The percentage of impoverished women has increased in recent years, while only 5.8 percent of chief executives on the list of the Fortune 500 companies are women. Women account for just 19.4 percent of congressional seats now; it might take another century to raise that to 50 percent. The United States is ranked 45th in the 2016 Global Gender Gap of nations, below European nations, Belarus and Namibia, among others.
Nevada’s first female United States senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, hailed the E.R.A. vote while pointing to the stop-and-start, “bittersweet progress” of gender equality that still leaves women well short of the goal. The glacial pace of progress was familiar to the women’s rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who died 18 years before women were allowed to vote. “Come, come, my conservative friend,” she patiently advised one opponent of the equality movement, “wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving.”