Streep, however, isn’t totally selfless. She’s also promoting her new movie, “Suffragette,” about activists at the turn of the 20th century who argued to give women the right to vote.
Streep’s lobbying effort emerged after letters surfaced that she’d recently written to members of Congress. She asked them to revive the effort to have the Amendment ratified by state legislatures. It’s a necessary step to be added to the Constitution.
“I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality – for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself – by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment,” she wrote.
The ERA has a long history. It was actually written in 1920 by U.S. suffragette Alice Paul. It affirmed that the U.S. Constitution applied to all equally regardless of sex. It then began the long process toward ratification.
It was introduced in every Congressional session starting in 1923 and finally passed Congress in 1972. Thirty-eight state legislatures must ratify the amendment before it can be added to the Constitution. So far, 35 states have signed off on it.
The Amendment failed to get the necessary votes within its seven-year time limit But congress voted to extend the period in 1982.
Oddly, the 66-year-old actress’s latest movie is a British drama that focuses on the effort in England to give women the right to vote. Sarah Gavron directs based on a script by Abi Morgan.
The film also stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson and Anne-Marie Duff.
Streep plays Emmeline Pankhurst, a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement.
The picture is set for a limited release in October by Focus Films.
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