Although by the early 1940s women had made many gains, they did not have full legal equality with men.
In some states, a married woman was still not allowed to sign a contract, and in a few places a husband could take his wife’s earnings.
Women were not allowed to serve on juries in about half the states, and in some states they could not run for governmental office.
In addition, the average man still earned much more than the average woman.
For all these reasons, a number of women’s groups urged Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the mid-1940s.
Labor activists, however, strongly opposed the measure, believing it would undo hard-won protections for women workers, and it was defeated.