Equal Rights Newspapers
Equal Rights was the weekly newspaper of the National Woman’s Party after the passage of the 19th Amendment. Published from 1923 until 1954, Equal Rights sought to keep NWP members and the larger women’s rights community apprised of legislative activities related to the Lucretia Mott Amendment, later renamed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Equal Rights was designed to keep members informed on the status of the ERA and other bills affecting women including protective labor legislation, nationality issues, married women’s working rights, jury service, and more. Regular features in the paper included: News from the Field, Feminist Notes, Press Comments, weekly reports on the current status of legislation, and information on events, lectures, and fundraising efforts. The newspaper also highlighted the activities of NWP members and other prominent people involved in the national and international women’s movement. The editors of the newspaper did not include as much graphic imagery as in The Suffragist, but instead focused on providing members with necessary content related to women’s rights throughout the world.
Articles were contributed by members and officers of the NWP, feminists from other nations, and a group of associate editors consisting of noted authors, poets, and journalists. Among the best known of these contributors were Crystal Eastman, Zona Gale, Ruth Hale, Zoe Beckley, and Inez Haynes Irwin.
Originally produced as a weekly newsletter, Equal Rights later changed to a monthly, and at times, a bi-monthly format. During the 1950’s, the printing schedule became increasingly erratic, until it ceased completely in 1954. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, the NWP published another small newsletter called The National Woman’s Party Bulletin. This periodical was intended to replace Equal Rights. The new publication adopted a similar format, but The Bulletin was substantially condensed and its main focus was to track the progress of legislative bills promoted by the NWP. The print schedule continued to vary until, as was the case of its predecessor Equal Rights, the NWP ceased publication in the 1980s.
The Equal Rights newspapers are not indexed, but the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum provides access to both the originals and microfilm copies for researchers interested in uncovering details about the National Woman’s Party, the origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, and the activities of the women’s rights movement from 1922 to the early 1950’s.