Definition: Ratification is the process by which states approve amendments to the U.S. Constitution. “To ratify” means to officially approve, or to give formal sanction to. It is most often used in the context of ratifying a proposed constitutional amendment, although it can also mean approving any fundamental change in law. In the U.S., after a two-thirds vote in Congress in favor, a proposed amendment is sent to the states for ratification. If the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in three-fourths of the states, ratify the amendment, it becomes part of the Constitution.
Feminism and Ratification: During the 1970s and early 1980s, feminists fought for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Although 35 states ratified the ERA, it fell three states short of the required 38 out of 50 states. Other amendments considered important in the struggle for women's rights include the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, which added the word "male" into the US Constitution for the first time, establishing, in Section 2, the right of all "male citizens" to vote; and the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The Nineteenth Amendment was approved in 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th out of (then) 48 states to ratify.