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ERA legend speaks to League of Women Voters

September 20, 2009

HAGERSTOWN -- Ellouise Schoettler is a storyteller who is part of her own story.

Sunday afternoon, Schoettler spoke to the League of Women Voters of Washington County about "A Journey to the ERA," outlining her efforts and those of millions of other women who for 10 years worked unsuccessfully for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

"It was a coup to get her to Hagerstown," said Fanny Crawford, co-president of the local league along with Barb Rice.

Between 15 and 20 people attended the fundraiser at the Women's Club in Hagerstown. And though attendance was low, Crawford said enthusiasm was high.

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She first heard Schoettler speak in October about her work on the grass-roots campaign that ended in 1982 with the failure to ratify the amendment.

For the last three years of the campaign, Schoettler was the ERA campaign director for the League of Women Voters for the USA.

Schoettler and other such women tell their stories so young women today will understand what motivated women in the 1970s to march and fight to have the following words added to the U.S. Constitution: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Crawford said the ERA fight was Schoettler's political coming of age and what she learned from that struggle became her story.

-- Marlo Barnhart

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