The Death of the ERA - Mrs. America Season 1 Episode 9
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Recap

Phyllis writes a law exam. Afterwards, a journalist from The Tribune ambushes her.

It is 1979, a couple of years after the National Women's Conference. The Equal Rights Amendment still needs ratification from three states. Congress extended the deadline until 1982.

Stop ERA is preparing for a gala that they are hosting. Alice stops by, which is a surprise since she has not been around much. Alice reassures Phyllis that she is still coming to the gala, and offers to help. Alice is concerned about the advice Phyllis gave Pamela about Kevin.

Alice and Rosemary leave Phyllis's house at the same time. Rosemary confronts Alice about her loyalty to the cause.

The National Women's Commission has an impromptu meeting with President Carter. They are frustrated because nothing has changed since Houston.

Bella tells the group that the President only gave them fifteen minutes. They plan to give a press release to the media regarding the lack of attention to the women's movement from the government. 

Phyllis is reading in bed. Fred walks in, and gives her an advanced reader's copy of Barry Goldwater's memoir. The manuscript was a gift from Congressman Phil Crane, who is seeking the Schlaflys' support in the upcoming Republican primaries.

Bella gets off the phone with President Carter, who has granted them a two-hour meeting. After she hangs up, Gloria says that she is looking to sell Ms. magazine.

On the evening of Phyllis's gala, Phyllis organized a skit that makes fun of Gloria and Bella. Everyone in the room laughs, except for Alice.

Phyllis gives a speech about how that night was the original deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment. She credits Fred for guiding her to take on the anti-ERA responsibility when it was Alice. She thanks her children, and does not give Eleanor any credit for helping to raise them. 

After Phyllis takes photos, she speaks with Phil Crane. He fishes for her endorsement, while she fishes for a potential cabinet position.

Alice confronts Phyllis about how she treats Pamela. She makes a scene, but they are interrupted by a potential bomb threat. Everyone evacuates.

A few of Reagan's campaign members approach Phyllis, asking for the Schlaflys' endorsement. Fred says they are going to wait until after Iowa before deciding, but Phyllis interrupts and officially endorses Reagan.

After the National Women's Commission meets with President Carter, his men fire Bella from her position as head of the Commission.

When Phyllis finds out that Carter fired Bella, she leaves him a message, approving that decision. Phyllis gives Reagan her mailing list and begins making phone calls on behalf of Reagan.

President Carter's team meets with another member of the Commission, appointing her presiding officer. However, all of the women on the Commission resign. 

Sometime later, Gloria packs up her office at Ms., and leaves for the last time.

In Illinois, Phyllis panics because her daughter, Anne, is not home from school yet. Eventually, Anne shows up and says Alice gave her a lift.

Phyllis goes outside to thank Alice. Alice tells Phyllis that she got a job as a 411 operator. She drives away.

Meanwhile, Fred is upset because Phyllis is prioritizing activism over their children. Phyllis's mother suggests that God appointed her to do activist work.

At a restaurant, Phyllis tells Congressman Crane that she will advise Reagan to pick him as a running mate. A few of Reagan's men meet with Phyllis.

The episode shows live footage from the 1980 election, where Reagan wins the presidency.

Bella and Shirley speak on the phone. After they hang up, Bella and her husband discuss taking a step back from politics.

Meanwhile, Betty surprises Gloria while Gloria is getting her hair done. Betty tells Gloria about her plans to continue to push the ERA. She feels bad for the way Carter's government treated Bella.

Betty is also upset at the prospect of Phyllis beating them, but Gloria thinks they will prevail.

Gloria leaves her apartment to travel, while her voiceover speaks in the background. This voiceover turns into a speech she gives to a live audience. 

Fred and Phyllis are at home when the phone rings. Fred picks up, and it is Reagan on the line. Phyllis thinks Reagan called to give her a cabinet position officially. Reagan tells Phyllis that he could not appoint her to his cabinet because he needs to appeal to pro-ERA women. 

Once they hang up, Fred tells Phyllis that Reagan made a mistake. Phyllis sits for a few moments, before going to bake an apple pie. 

The episode ends with a historical note on the aftermath of the 1980 election, alongside live footage of Phyllis and various second-wave feminists.

Show:
Mrs. America
Season:
Episode Number:
9
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Mrs. America Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

I have stood alongside the greatest women of our generation. Still, today, we select our leaders first by eliminating women and minorities and those with too little education. Changing this will take a very long time. After all, we are dealing with ten thousand years of patriarchy and racism. But we must continue to move forward in waves. What will keep us going is the revelation of what we can be. What the people around us can be, without the crippling walls and prisons into which we have been forced. We are just beginning to discover each of us, who we can be. And no matter how long this revolution may take, there can be no turning back.

Gloria

We are the ones that are going to have a press conference. We are going to tell the American people how disappointed we are with the President's stand on women's issues. He is going to have to do something for us to get us to vote for him. We're no longer a captive audience.

Gloria