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Meryl Streep's latest crusade exposes a major misunderstanding about equality

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Meryl Streep urges women's equality in impassioned letter to Congress

Life imitates art: Meryl Streep is taking up the cause of her latest movie character and fighting for equal rights for women.

The actress, who plays British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst in the upcoming movie Suffragette, sent a personalized packet to each member of Congress urging them to revive the Equal Rights Amendment.

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"I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality — for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself — by actively supporting the equal rights amendment," the three-time Academy Award winner wrote.

"A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality — equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights."

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She included Jessica Neuwirth's book, Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment is Now, with the letter.

Representative Jackie Speier included her support with the packet and shared a shocking fact.

"The time is ripe to ratify the equal rights amendment," she wrote. "Seventy percent of people polled think that we already have an ERA in the constitution and they're shocked to find we don't have one."

The original Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1923. Defeated, it languished for decades until being passed by both houses of Congress in 1972, but state legislatures dragged their feet on ratification until the amendment died in 1982.

Currently, only 11 states have laws protecting equal rights on the basis of sex.

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Meryl Streep urges women's equality in impassioned letter to Congress

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