Asheville, Western NC Women want Equal Rights Amendment on NC Agenda

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – An organization, Ratify ERA-NC, has formed under the co-directorship of Roberta Madden, Black Mountain, and Nancy Glowacki, Hendersonville, and has begun to build a statewide database, Madden told Asheville Rising members Thursday, May 9.

“The Equal Rights Amendment is the simple idea women should be included in the constitution,” says Madden.

The informal meeting came as a result of Asheville Rising members expressing interest in addressing the underlying cause of the many problems undermining women’s welfare in matters of health, law, and economics.

A video filmed during International Women’s Day in March features local women’s responses to these issues.

A recognized leader in the Equal Rights Movement for more than 40 years, Madden was invited to meet with the group to share information and create public awareness regarding the current efforts to encourage North Carolina’s ratification of the amendment.

Why ERA? Why now?

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 by suffragette Alice Paul, states:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any
state on account of sex.

This historic piece of proposed legislation is back on the table due to the recent passage of the Madison Amendment, focusing on congressional pay raises. The passage of that amendment took 203 years, suggesting the deadline originally placed on the Equal Rights Amendment – not actually in the wording, but proposed by opponents – was invalid. First ladies such as Patricia Nixon, Betty Ford, and Rosalyn Carter supported ERA in its 1972 failed attempt at ratification. At that time, the bill passed in the U.S. Senate and House, but fell short when only 35 of 38 states ratified.

ERA Reintroduced into U.S. Congress on May 9

Last week, 90 years after ERA was first introduced, a new bill to lift the deadline and place the ratification of ERA back into the national agenda was introduced in both the United States House of Representatives and Senate, the two legislative bodies within the Congressional House, says Madden.

“Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 15 and House Joint Resolution (HJR) 43 were introduced today,” she told Asheville Rising attendees at the Thursday, May 9, meeting, to a smattering of applause. “The text of the legislation and a list of cosponsors are available at”

North Carolina Never Ratified ERA

North Carolina never ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, making it an important state in the current “3 state” push for ratification. Regrettably, no North Carolina members of Congress listed as cosponsors to the bill. To correct this oversight, supporters of the amendment may call Senators Hagan and Burr and their U.S Representative Meadows or McHenry, and urge them to add their names as cosponsors. The toll free number to the U.S. Capitol is 1-877-762-8762.

Without the guarantee of constitutional bedrock, all laws in the United States currently promising equality may be overturned by a single majority vote in state or U.S. legislatures, according to Madden and documentation provided by Ratify ERA-NC.

Equal Rights Protect All Persons

While opponents claim the 14th amendment guarantees equal rights, in actuality the 14th amendment does not prohibit sex discrimination in the U.S.  According to Supreme Court Justice Scaglia, cases of discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin are considered with a standard of strict scrutiny by the court system. Those involving gender discrimination are deemed less important, and are held with intermediate or rational scrutiny.

Though women currently comprise more than 50 percent of the population and work force, they are not provided the same constitutional protections as men. In fact, they are explicitly excluded from Constitutional protections. The Right to Vote was granted as an exclusion to this lack of protection, and does not actually provide equal status under the law. Many U.S. states today continue to consider women as legal extensions of their husbands, fathers, or sons.

Madden offers a telling example of what this means in real life in North Carolina.

“On average, a North Carolina woman, working full time, year around, makes 81 cents to every man’s dollar. This affects everything: pensions, if they have them, and social security.”

As a result, women currently constitute three-fourths of elderly individuals in poverty in North Carolina. As parents of baby boomers, and the baby boomers themselves age, the ability to sustain quality of life during age is an issue which looms ahead for many North Carolinians.

Additionally, men would also benefit from the amendment, says Madden, particularly in areas such as family law, military service, and sex discrimination.

“Men file about half of the sex discrimination cases before the U.S. Supreme Court,” she says.


Asheville Rising is the western North Carolina response to the recent One Billion Rising Campaign on February 14 to take action to prevent violence against women. The group is at
Ratify ERA-NC can be reached at For national updates on the Equal Rights Amendment, visit

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., is a freelance writer from Weaverville specializing in mindfulness approaches to marketing public relations, at She is a member of Asheville Rising.

She is helping Helpmate in Asheville NC

Meet Julie Tallman of Mary Kay in Asheville NC

The other day, while running around town, I stopped by this bagel shop to grab a quick bite. I was in “so busy” mode that I tried not to make eye contact with anyone so I could get in and out of there as quickly as possible and head to my next meeting. I ordered, paid, moved to the end of the shop and started tweeting on my smartphone. I semi-looked up for a moment and saw this lady with a bunch of items, putting them in pretty baskets, with a big smile on her face. I thought “who is that, what is she doing and what is that for?” Finally, after wondering several times in-between tweets, I walked over and asked. A warm welcome greeted me with an inspiring story to follow that made my day.  “Julie” was packing a bunch of Mary Kay cosmetics and beauty supplies for the ladies at Helpmate. She explained to me that it is a project where they match however much others donated at a recent event. I love to hear stuff like this!

We later talked via email and I learned a lot more about Julie, and her involvement with Helpmate of Asheville. Please read:

My name is Julie Tallman and I am an Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay. What that means is I have a group of women and men (yes, MEN!) who have opened their own Mary Kay businesses who I train, coach and mentor as they build their businesses to be successful. For the past 9 years I worked at News 13 WLOS in Asheville – my last job there for 7 of those years was as a Marketing Specialist, which is “fancy speak” for I worked with clients to develop advertising campaigns. I started my Mary Kay business just over two years ago for some extra money and fun and it took off, eventually allowing me to quit my full-time job to pursue Mary Kay exclusively.

Mary Kay as a company is very focused on Social Responsibility and has a program called “Pink Changing Lives” as well as a charitable foundation that donates millions of dollars to two causes – cancers that affect women and domestic violence. When the company celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th with an attempt to break the World’s Record for the number of makeovers ever performed in one day, some of the area Mary Kay Directors decided to join in on the fun and to choose a worthy cause that aligned with our companies focus and mission of helping break the cycle of domestic violence. We held an event called a Beauty Bash with Benefits at the Biltmore Park Hilton where more than 80 women attended and received complimentary makeovers. We chose Helpmate as our non-profit to assist with fund and awareness raising:

For over 30 years, Helpmate has served as Buncombe County’s primary provider of crisis-level services designed specifically for – and offered exclusively to – victims of domestic violence and their children. Consultants donated 20% of their proceeds from the sale of their products the night of the March 8th event to Helpmate. Attendees were encouraged to purchase hand creams and “beauty break” gifts for the women at Helpmate as well, and when they did their consultant matched their donation with an equal product donation – the idea was to give women a token of our love and care and to allow those women going through so much to have something a little bit special. Between those two efforts, we were able to donate $410 in Cash and More than $800 in Product to Helpmate from our efforts the night of March 8th. When we arrived at the shelter we met with Ann Flynn, Acting Executive Director and Development Director at Helpmate. Several of the residents were in the shelter at the time of delivery and we were able to give them gifts at that time. The rest we handed over to the staff of the shelter to distribute as they saw fit. We are honored and humbled to work with Helpmate, who serve as a constant resource to women and children in situations of domestic violence through their shelter, their hotline and their counseling services. If any of your readers should like to also assist Helpmate or another favorite charity benefiting women or children we are offering a fun and easy way to give back.
The Mary Kay® Global Makeover Day launched this year’s Mary Kay® Global Makeover Contest. Participants in the United States have the chance to win one of 50 $5,000 grants to a charity of their choice that supports women and children and one $5,000 international vacation to the destination of their choice. To enter, participants must receive a personalized makeover from their Independent Beauty Consultant and submit their “before and after” picture with an entry form at between March 8 and May 10, 2013. Learn More About Mary Kay…
Irresistible products. Positive community impact. Rewarding opportunity. For 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 2.5 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $3 billion in global annual wholesale sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world.
Thank you Julie for taking a moment to share the great things you are doing in the Asheville and WNC community!

Asheville Women, Hendersonville Women, All Women… Unite Here!

I constantly evaluate websites in the Western North Carolina area, and quickly fell in love with what Willow has done with her site targeted toward women, ladies, girls, etc. Women discuss many things on the site including everyday issues in womanhood, names for their kids, photos of their families, politics, kids events, and so much more. Such a really great women’s resource for Asheville, Hendersonville, WNC, and the whole world for that matter. If you are a Female, stop by and check out or just click HERE! Thanks.

Victoria’s Secret in Asheville, something for the ladies (and the men too)

I kind of think this is an awesome idea for the guys to stop by stores like these and invest in something that will benefit the both of you. I know on “According To Jim”, he bought his wife a flat screen tv with a sports channel subscription as a gift, and that is a little too inconsiderate. Do not know her size? Go in, pick someone there, point at some random lady, and say she’s about like her size, etc. I have done it plenty of times, lol. Or skip the “clothing”, and check out their perfumes, make up, and other bath products that I am sure your significant other would love to try. Great section in there featuring the “Pink” teen and young lady line (or feeling young, lol), another featuring the “Angels” line (pajamas, bras, underwear, pastel colors, soft materials), also the “Very Sexy” line which leans more toward lingerie, sexy clothing, etc, and then “Body By Victoria” which is sportswear and activewear. This store has 6 sections, while the Victoria’s Secret at the Biltmore Square Mall has 5.

Asheville’s Queen of Fashion – Constance Boutique

Maybe you have never been to her little shop over across from the downtown Asheville Public Library? For many of us who worked downtown and got to network with many business owners, Constance Boutique became one of our favorite places to stop by, shop, and just enjoy the whole atmosphere. I remember one day I was out with 2 ladies and we were walking by the store. We saw Laura, Constance, and a few clients talking and having fun. So we dropped in, Constance broke out the wine, and we had one of our best times in many weeks. More people came in, it was literally “dress up” time for adults. Well, we escaped after getting one of the ladies I was with a beautiful BCBG dress and the other lady a Diana Von Furstenberg dress and top. Everyone left with a smile. Constance and her “crew” are just great people, consumed with clothing style, and a mended business mind. Maybe a little bit ahead of the time for Asheville North Carolina years ago, but now very well established in the community and the timing is perfect.

One of the stores is downtown right near the Asheville Civic Center, across from the library. The other is located in Biltmore Station right next to Biltmore Village (That spot is hot!). She also had a temporary store in the Grove Arcade at one time. She recently tried to expand and accommodate a new location in South Asheville on Long Shoals Rd, but the business and lack of shopping due to the market is forcing her to focus on the other 2 shops after Christmas and put her space on Long Shoals up for lease (photo above). This location is great, with a new 4 lane in front and a booming area… but juggling the 3 stores in this economy forced her to choose the top 2 / oldest 2.

For those of you who know Constance, she is a local star, style guru, fashion consultant, and great overall resident of Asheville NC. She is well versed in many high end womens fashion and can easily create a complete wardrobe custom made exactly for you. Some of the clothing can fit in the “high end common” realm, while others fit the “movie stars”. I fall in love with clothing all over again every time I walk into this place. You would expect to find a store of this magnitude in New York City, Atlanta, or Charlotte; but she has brought this beautiful style to Asheville North Carolina. I talked to Constance one time at Savoy Restaurant where she was moderating a “model fashion runway” show for Al Lorenzo from Al’s Contractors Inc. in Marion. He was about to marry Natalie, and this was her bridal shower. Wow! Very nice bridal shower. Thank you again Constance.

You can call the boutique at 828-252-4002 or click HERE to go to her website. Only if you want the best, if you know what I mean. Head to toe, perfection.