Actress and filmmaker Kamala Lopez is a staunch defender of women's rights and so has become actively involved in a project that seeks to raise awareness about the need to amend the Constitution to guarantee equality.

Her activism has won her the 2011 Woman of Courage Award from the National Women's Political Caucus, which she will receive on July 27, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will also be honored.

Lopez is director of the E.R.A. Education Project, a national media campaign to raise awareness about the Equal Rights Amendment.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is reintroducing the E.R.A. in Congress this year "to formally acknowledge what the immense majority of the population believes, that men and women are equal before the law," Lopez said in an interview with Efe.

"What many people don't know is that the 14th Amendment of the Constitution contains the term 'male,' which could leave women's rights at the level of interpretation. For that reason the E.R.A. project puts the American woman, her achievements and her earnings over the last century on a solid, irremovable foundation that will be proof against the winds of political changes," she said.

The New York-born Lopez began her acting career at 14 with a role on "Sesame Street."

A graduate in philosophy and theater from Yale University, Lopez said that throughout her life she has had an undeniable tendency to get involved in social issues.

She debuted as a filmmaker in 2009 with "A Single Woman," about the life of the first U.S. congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin.