By Mary McGuire

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Thursday marks International Women’s Day and activists from around the world are gathering to call for an improvement in women’s rights.

Hundreds held MeToo signs at a rally against sexual harassment in Seoul, South Korea this morning.

Even the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange called for an end to violence against women.

Here in Minnesota, women want to change the state’s constitution.

Last year, we saw thousands of people marching throughout the streets of St. Paul, standing up for women’s rights.

Thursday, we saw a smaller version of that take over the halls of the Capitol.

Carrying signs and sporting red, supporters rallied at the Capitol, calling for an Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the ballot in the November 2018 election.

They believe making a permanent change to the state’s constitution will ensure women are treated equally in all aspects of life.

An amendment would ensure gender issues are treated in the same way race and religion are in the eyes of the law.

Although the rally lasted just about an hour, organizers hope the momentum created goes on for much longer.

“Have those conversations in their families, with their friends and then to take those conversations to their legislators,” ERA President Heather Allison said, “to email, visit here, to visit their legislators here at the Capitol, send postcards, call them on the phone, see if they can meet them in town halls. Whatever they can do to make sure that they are being heard and that they are being represented here at the Capitol.”

“And every day, we need every day movement on this,” Women’s March Minnesota Board Chair Jammi Hansen Blair said.

Equal rights legislation would be new to our state, but it is fairly common across the country.

More than 20 other states have similar amendments in their own constitutions.

Two bills relating to this idea have yet to have hearings scheduled by lawmakers.

After Thursday, organizers hope that will change.

More information on the effort can be found here.


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