Excellent article by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker, May 25, 2015.
The Constitution never mentions sex, marriage, or
reproduction. This is because the political order that the Constitution
established was a fraternity of free men who, believing themselves to
have been created equal, consented to be governed. Women did not and
could not give their consent: they were neither free nor equal. Rule
over women lay entirely outside a Lockean social contract in a
relationship not of liberty and equality but of confinement and
subjugation. As Mary Astell wondered, in 1706, “If all Men are born
free, how is it that all Women are born Slaves?” Essentially,
the Constitution is inadequate. It speaks directly only to the sort of
people who were enfranchised in 1787; the rest of us are left to make
arguments by amendment and, failing that, by indirection.