Keeping Score: 35% of Women Cannot Survive Without $600 Unemployment Aid

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

Lest We Forget

+ “It is easy to feel discouraged when advocating for an issue or trying to affect change. As we approach the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States, it is helpful to keep in mind how long it took for women to get the vote. Women endured social alienation, taunts and even prison. If the suffragists had listened to the naysayers, they wouldn’t have finally persevered after so many years. When you’re overwhelmed, focus on your work and the task at hand.”

—Amanda Hunter, research and communications director of Lee Family Office.

+ “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”

—the late John Lewis in his final essay as published by the New York Times.

+ “Most people are innately good and sympathetic. They want to do the right thing, but it’s easy to be sidetracked by selfishness and emotion.” 

—102-year-old Gerri Schappals, survivor of the 1918 flu pandemic and cancer.

+ “In my case, the monster knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family. At the moment, there is nothing we can do to stop it, and that is unacceptable. My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench.”

—U.S. District Judge Esther Salas after the tragedy that left her son murdered.

+ “It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful. Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of the language I use.”

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) after getting in hot water for calling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “f*cking b*tch” at their workplace. 

Ocasio-Cortez criticized his apology, arguing that having daughters or a wife is not enough to make a man decent. 

+ “I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness. Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”

Michelle Obama in an episode of her new podcast.


+ Kamala Harris has become the second Democratic woman to become a vice presidential nominee, and the first woman of color to be nominated for the position.

+ For the first time in Oprah magazine history, Oprah Winfrey abdicated her role as woman on the cover to shine a spotlight on Breonna Taylor.

The following week, Oprah continued to spread this message with 26 billboards demanding justice for the Kentucky woman murdered by police.

+ Over 45,000 childcare workers in California have created a union, the Child Care Providers United California,  for representation in contract deliberations. The workers, mainly women, have been working to create a union for nearly two decades. 

+ The American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers unions in the United States, has authorized its members to strike against reckless school reopenings in the face of the pandemic. The group is also providing access to financial and legal resources to those navigating the return to physical classrooms. Following suit, other teacher unions have suggested that they support their teachers in advocacy efforts. 

+ There will be a new, majority women-founded women’s soccer team in Los Angeles. Big names behind the project include Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Lilly Singh and Eva Longoria Baston. The athletic roster includes legendary women’s soccer players Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Lauren Cheney Holiday. 

+ New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, has filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association (NRA). She seeks to abolish the organization, arguing that corruption and misspending has irrevocably damaged its status as a nonprofit. 

+ Rep. Jan Schakowksy (D-Ill.) has introduced a bill—co-sponsored by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.)—the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act of 2020, to repeal the Helms Amendment. The Helms Amendment, long criticized by reproductive justice advocates, is a policy that prohibits the use of U.S. foreign aid money for abortion care. 

+ Grace’s story went viral when she, a 15-year-old Black teenager, was jailed for not doing her homework. She has been released by Michigan authorities. 

+ The Girl Scouts of the USA has released new badges that celebrate entrepreneurship, STEM activities, engineering, civics, and other skills that have been traditionally viewed as masculine. 

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How We’re Doing

+ According to a new study, 35 percent of women respondents report that they cannot survive a month without the federal $600 per week unemployment aid (which just expired). Moreover, COVID-19 has financially affected women the most, who have lost more jobs and income than their male counterparts. 

+ The greatest predictor of someone’s likelihood to wear a mask and support mask mandates, amongst following other COVID-19 responsible behavior, is political party.

+ Since the pandemic began, now the majority of Americans know someone who has been infected by COVID-19.

+ New data reveals that it is the race of the victim, not the defendant, that can predict the likelihood of the death sentence being issued. A 1987 landmark Supreme Court decision looked at death sentences, rather than executions, and saw that if their victims were white, the killers were four times as likely to be sentenced to death as if their victims were Black.

In the time since that case, new studies have supported the findings argued nearly 30 years ago—a 2017 study followed homicide cases where around half of the victims were white, but three-quarters of the defendants executed were in cases with white victims. The disparate value placed on white and Black lives has not seemed to shift in decades.

About and

Caroline Cook is a communications strategist based in San Francisco. Tell Them to Be Quiet and Wait is her first novel. Her work has also appeared in McSweeney's and Lady Science Magazine. Connect with her on Twitter or Instagram at @caroline_e_cook.
Sarah Montgomery is a senior at USC. She is passionate about using writing as a tool for social change. Her Starbucks beverage of choice is the iced skinny vanilla latte—personal cup and reusable straw, of course.