Meryl Streep wrote 535 letters to Congress asking for equal pay for women—and here’s what happened
Meryl Streep just debuted her new film Suffragette at the Telluride Film Festival. In the film, Streep plays Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the British suffrage movement who helped women secure the right to vote.
As it turns out, Streep herself is just as fierce IRL when it comes to fighting for gender equality. As People reports, Streep explained at a Telluride panel that this past June she wrote a letter to all 535 members of Congress pleading with the lawmakers to revive the Equal Rights Amendment.
Two-second history lesson: the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in 1972 (guaranteeing equal rights to men and women across the board, and yes, that DOES include equal pay). o BUT it was only been ratified by 35 states, three states short of the yes votes it needed to be added to the Constitution. So, of course, Streep, and those who are fighting for gender equality in the U.S., are putting the pressure on Congress to make all 50 states pass the ERA as the law of the land.
“I sent them each a book called Equal Means Equal by Jessica Neuwirth,” said Streep, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s about the revival of the attempt to get an ERA that would codify in law that you can’t discriminate against women.”
So, when Meryl Streep writes you a letter (And sends you a book, to boot!), you respond, right? I mean, it’s MERYL. But no, as Streep tells it, she only received five responses back. For those of you who just did that quick mental math, yes, you calculated correctly, that’s less than 1% of Congress that acknowledged her outreach on this insanely important topic.
That said, Streep isn’t letting this setback deter her, she’s going to continue to fight for equal rights around the world. Recently, Streep even asked Pope Francis to become an ally for gender equality.
“He must address issues of inequality,” she said. “The conversation changes when women are at the table.”
Remember that moment at last year’s Oscars when Patricia Arquette accepted her Oscar with powerful words about the need to fight for gender equality and close the pay gap and Meryl Streep was the ULTIMATE feminist hype girl?
Well, that’s what we’re all doing to Meryl now. We’re pointing and screaming “YES” at you, lady. Keeping fighting the good fight.
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[Images via Giphy, Shutterstock]