Betty Ford, Champion of Women’s Rights

Photo: Eleanor Smeal and former first lady Betty Ford appear at a 1981 countdown rally for the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington.

I will never forget the day in 1981 that I asked Betty Ford to be an honorary co-chair with Alan Alda of the Equal Rights Amendment Countdown Campaign. I thought it would be a long, involved process. But she said almost immediately that she would be honored to do so. At the time Betty Ford, […]

Last Woman on the Space Shuttle in T-5, 4, 3, 2, 1!


Today, at 11:29 a.m. EDT, Sandy Magnus blasted off–becoming the last woman astronaut to enter space via the NASA space shuttle program. Magnus is a NASA veteran, with two previous flights under her belt. And she’s certainly not the only woman to become a space hero. Yet, besides Sally Ride and Christa McAuliffe (who died […]

Jewish Feminist E.M. Broner Dies


At first I was confused when the rabbi at my university’s Hillel placed an orange on our seder plate during the Passover celebration. Where was there an orange in the story of Passover? Later, I learned that my rabbi was honoring the feminist world of Judaism, following in the footsteps of Esther M. Broner (E.M. […]

Joanna Russ: When Sci-Fi Changed


I’m not much of a connoisseur of science fiction, feminist or otherwise. But in the flush of the Second Wave, I read two feminist sci-fi stories that have always stuck with me: Ursula K. LeGuin‘s “Sur,” which appeared in The New Yorker in 1982, and Joanna Russ’s “When It Changed.” The former imagines a secret […]

Remembering Marathon Pioneer Grete Waitz

grete waitz

When Grete Waitz won the New York City Marathon for the first time in 1978–she would be victorious in the race eight more times over the next 10 years–competitive marathon running for women was still in its infancy. But Waitz, who died today at 57 in her native Norway, helped bring it into the international […]

Happy Birthday, Alice Walker!


Alice Walker: novelist, poet, short-story writer, essayist, teacher, editor, publisher, womanist, activist. Also a Pulitzer-Prize winner, a Guggenheim fellow, a Merrill fellow, a Radcliffe Institute fellow, a National Book Award winner and on and on. Her books have been banned and restored, critiqued and revered. She has contributed to Ms. in more than thirty issues, […]

Kay Mills: Reporter, Author, Mentor, Hero


For many journalism historians like myself, Kay Mills’ first book, A Place in the News: From the Women’s Pages to the Front Pages, modeled how to, finally, write women into the story of journalism. And she did it in a way that translated so well–she began each chapter with a personal story about discrimination endured […]

In Memory of Louise Raggio


Married, single or divorced, you should know the name Louise Raggio. Chances are you don’t. Raggio, a pioneer in family law who died last weekend at age 91, was the driving force behind many of the legal rights you have today. Gloria Steinem wrote of Raggio: “Hers is a story that every law school, every […]

Remembering Miriam Wosk, First Ms. Cover Artist


We were sad here at Ms. to learn that Miriam Wosk–who created the iconic first cover of the magazine–has died at age 63. Wosk’s cover depicted a modern version of the Hindu goddess Kali, tears streaming down her face while she uses eight arms to juggle an overabundance of work and household tasks. Meanwhile, a […]

When Women Went on Strike: Remembering Equality Day, 1970


Bold moves and high-risk strategies have been a feminist tradition since the days of Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony. But on March 20, 1970, when Betty Friedan gave her farewell address as outgoing president of NOW and called for a nationwide women’s strike on August 26 (the 50th anniversary of winning the vote), the […]