In California, the 1972 campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution pitted amendment supporters against labor leaders trying to protect women-only protective labor laws. The seven-month struggle in California resulted in a vote for ratification and motivated several years of legislative activity on women's issues. Most scholarship about ERA ratification in the United States in the 1970s has examined the reasons why the amendment failed. This article takes a different tack by investigating a state where the ERA was successful. The ERA campaign was a key element in the embrace of women's issues by the California Democratic Party. The article also provides an in-depth analysis of the relationship between labor feminists and equal rights feminists, two groups that were opposed during the ratification campaign but were frequent allies on women's issues before and after 1972.

This content is only available via PDF.