This past weekend, Taylor Swift used her influence to convince Apple to change a payment policy that bilked artists out of rightful revenue. And now, Meryl Streep is attempting to do one better with her celebrity, taking her equal-rights crusade to Congress.
On Tuesday, the Oscar winner sent a packet to every single member of Congress, including a letter and a copy of "Equal Means Equal," a book by Jessica Neuwirth, president of the ERA Coalition. In the letter, Streep explains, "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."
"A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality — equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights," Streep continues.
Although Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, it did not garner enough support from individual states to be added to the Constitution. And in the decades since, the proposed amendment has fallen to the political wayside. The proposed amendment proclaims, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
Streep has been publicly rallying for equality all year. During this year's Academy Awards, cameras showed Streep giving an enthusiastic standing ovation to Patricia Arquette's speech, during which the Boyhood star stumped for wage equality. Streep is using her own money to combat sexism in Hollywood by funding a screenwriting lab for women. Streep co-stars in the upcoming British drama Suffragette, in which she plays Emmeline Pankhurst, the militant activist credited for founding the Women's Social and Political Union.
And in a conversation with Michelle Obama for More magazine, Streep passionately discusses her cause: "We're viewed as equals — but we're still not there yet," Streep says. "For the first time, we have the expectation that we can have a broad array of choices, that we could lead in almost any part of society. And yet we face resistance. We see that here at home in our government — in the House and the Senate. We see that in our boardrooms. We see that in Hollywood."
"The challenge for our girls, I think, is dealing with that resistance," Streep continues. "How can we lift and defuse it, how do we make it so our equality is not so threatening?"
The actress, at least, is trying to do her part.
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