You have to watch this speech from Virginia legislator Margaret Ransone (R-99). The Republican delegate, who represents Westmoreland, delivered a powerful message for the women who think she's heartless for voting against the Equal Rights Amendment, which according to its website states it would guarantee legal gender equality. Ransone's "no" vote helped derail the legislation, meaning Virginia will not be the 38th state to ratify it. Some media described the defeat as a "major blow for feminist groups." In her emotional speech, delivered before her colleagues on Tuesday, Ransone shared a much different perspective.
First, she had to address the treatment she received earlier that morning in her subcommittee. As she stood to explain her opposition to the amendment, Ransone recalled, she saw mothers "covering their daughters' ears." It was, she said, "the most disappointing event" she’s ever experienced in the Virginia legislature.
"I’m not naïve," she explained. "I know many of them were to support a position I’m against. Nevertheless, I tell young girls, I don’t care if you agree with me or not. Participating in the political process is important."
Unfortunately, some of those mothers did not return the respect.
"Do you know as soon as I started to speak, mothers in the room who simply disagreed with my position covered their daughters’ ears as a sign to me and to their daughters that in the political process, you don’t have to listen to people who mom disagrees with?"
It was "a low" in her public career. All she wanted to do, she explained, "was to empower young women." But, "that message delivered from a Republican woman simply wasn’t worth hearing."
So, she returned to deliver her message again.
“I voted against this ERA because I think it’s simply not needed,” she explained on Tuesday.
Women, she explained, don't need a piece of paper to tell them they can serve in higher office.
"Never let anyone tell you you need anything other than a strong work ethic to be successful in life."
"I’ve had a lot of occupations to get where I am today," Ransone said, trying to hold back tears. "I did all this as a woman and without this ERA."
Ransone upended another argument she's heard from some of her female constituents that she is getting “bullied” by men in the legislature.
“The men in this body, on both sides of the aisle, they respect me and they have become incredible friends to me and I’ve earned their respect,” she explained.
"As a strong and independent woman, it was my choice to vote against the ERA."
Of course, Ransone said, women deserve to be treated fairly, and paid equally. Thankfully they have those protections in the 14th amendment and the Virginia constitution.
On the other hand, ERA supporters "look at young girls and tell them they can never be successful" because ERA is not in the constitution.
"That is the wrong message to tell our daughters," Ransone said. All a girl needs to be successful is determination and a “big heart.”