Anti-Feminist Housewife Who Helped Defeat ERA Dies

Phyllis Schlafly was 92
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2016 1:44 AM CDT
Anti-Feminist Conservative Activist Phyllis Schlafly Dead at 92
In this Aug. 10, 1976, photo, women opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment sit with Phyllis Schlafly, left, national chair of Stop ERA, at a GOP subcommittee hearing.   (AP Photo)

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, best known for her successful campaign to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, has died at her home in St. Louis. She was 92. The author and activist attended scores of hearings in the 1970s to testify against the amendment, arguing that equal rights would disadvantage housewives. She threw a party when it expired in 1982, having been passed by both houses of Congress but only ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states, reports Reuters. Schlafly—who worked at a munitions factory in World War II—earned a master's degree in political science and a law degree, unsuccessfully ran for Congress three times and founded the Eagle Forum conservative group while raising six children and presenting herself as a traditional housewife, the New York Times reports.

When she spoke at gatherings nationwide, Schlafly loved to mock what she called "women's libbers" by saying: "I'd like to thank my husband, Fred, for letting me be here today." Historians say the ERA might have passed if it wasn't for Schlafly, who mobilized anti-feminist volunteers across the country and warned that the amendment could lead to gay marriage, women in combat, and unisex restrooms, the Los Angeles Times notes. She remained active in her later years and endorsed Donald Trump in March this year, saying: "We've been following the losers for so long," but "now we've got a guy who will lead us to victory." After her death, Trump issued a statement calling Schlafly "a patriot, a champion for women, and a symbol of strength." (In 2012, she warned men not to date feminists.)

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