Keeping Score: “A Cabinet That Looks Like America”

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 

+ “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, opening up about her miscarriage experience in a New York Times op-ed.

+ “Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election. It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”

—Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)

+ “I am using my office to show girls and women in my city, my country and the world that we can and should be agents of change.”

—Freetown mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the first female mayor of Sierra Leone’s capital, and one of six mayors launching a global women’s rights network during the pandemic.

+ “Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate. It is all too easy for some to take an idea — in this case, for example, personal freedom — and turn it into an ideology, creating a prism through which they judge everything.”

—Pope Francis in a New York Times op-ed regarding public response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

+ “The state is starting to interfere with our most personal decisions that impact our life, our destiny, our health and safety. A woman’s right to choose is the litmus test for a healthy and progressive society. This moment in time will affect the Polish community for decades to come. Our women—our mothers, wives and daughters of the future—are relying on us to put them first.”

—Polish model and activist Anja Rubik on the country’s recent abortion ban.

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+ President-Elect Joe Biden has begun announcing members of his senior staff, including former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and future deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, the first female campaign manager to lead a Democratic candidate to victory. 

He also named the first woman director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, and first woman Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen. His proposed senior communications team is entirely composed of women.

Several veteran Democratic, women political strategists have been named to the communications teams for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Left to right: Jen Psaki, Karine Jean-Pierre, Pili Tobar, Symone Sanders.

In addition, serving as the first Latino Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas will work to reverse family separation and other inhumane immigration policies.

+ Scotland’s parliament passed the Period Products bill on Tuesday, Nov. 24, making tampons and pads available in public buildings. Schools and universities will be among the institutions offering free menstrual products.

+ After a lawsuit was filed by nonbinary New Yorker Sander Saba over the summer, New York state officials approved an “X” option for gender markers on drivers licenses. According to the Associated Press, the plans were already underway as of 2019.

+ At 21 years old, Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon, doing so in under 17 hours.

+ A federal appeals court, packed with Trump-appointed judges, ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment to ban conversion therapy for minors.

+ A bill introduced by President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina would allow abortion up to 14 weeks, and include it in national health care coverage. Currently, the procedure is only legal in instances of rape or health risks.

+ Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) was announced the next assistant speaker of the House on Wednesday—making her the second highest-ranking woman in House leadership. She holds the fourth most power among Democrats, who again nominated Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as speaker of the House.

+ Due to the pandemic, U.S. greenhouse gases are projected to fall by over 9 percent this year. The decrease will result in the lowest level of emissions by the American economy since 1983. 

+ California state senator Scott Wiener (D), championing the movement for drug policy reform, is introducing legislation that would decriminalize psychedelics in the state.

Lisa Montgomery. (Courtesy)

+ The execution of the only woman inmate on federal death row was delayed from its original date of Dec. 8, 2020. Lisa Montgomery’s case faced an accelerated timeline, despite her experience with child and sexual abuse, and a history of mental instability.

+ Two security guards violently beat a Black man outside of a supermarket in Brazil. The victim, João Alberto Silveira Freitas, died after being repeatedly struck, prompting outrage from both sides of the political aisle.

+ In Florida, two Black teenagers were shot by a deputy who is now under investigation for their deaths.

+ The first Black mayor of New York City, David N. Dinkins, died at age 93 on Monday, Nov. 23—just two months after his wife Joyce Dinkins’s passing. 

+ At just 30 years old, former sex worker Elisa Crespo is running to replace Rep.-Elect Ritchie Torres on the New York City council. (Torres will soon be the first gay, Afro-Latino member of Congress.) Crespo would represent the 15th council district, and be the city’s first transgender council member.

+ A Supreme Court case, raised by the attorney general of Indiana, questions the right of same-sex couples to be recognized as parents under state law.

Alcindor. (Courage in Journalism Awards)

+ The International Women’s Media Foundation will present the Courage in Journalism awards to six global female journalists on Tuesday:

  • Jessikka Aro of Finland,
  • Yakeen Bido of Syria,
  • Gulchehra Hoja of China,
  • Solafa Magdy of Egypt, and
  • Susan Goldberg and Yamiche Alcindor of the U.S. 

How We’re Doing

+ Data shows that more than 7,300 hate crimes occurred in 2019, the highest number since 2008. Out of 51 homicides included, 23 of the deaths occurred in a racist attack on Latinos in El Paso, Texas.

+ In a Pew Research Center survey, the percentage of Americans who are “fearful” about the state of the country decreased by two percent when compared to five months ago—but the percentage who are “hopeful” increased by nine.

Majorities feel ‘fearful,’ ‘angry’ about state of the U.S., but share feeling ‘hopeful’ has increased since June
(Graphic by Pew Research Center)

+ A study in JAMA Psychiatry revealed that suicidality and self-harm related to pregnancy has increased dramatically since 2006, especially amongst young, Black and low-income women.

+ In a new study, 80 percent of men agreed that their workplace “empowers women to reach their full potential”—but less than half (36 percent) of female respondents agreed.

+ A plurality of voters, in both political camps, support policies to mitigate the caregiving crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

+ The U.S. Congress, though increasingly diverse, is nowhere near representative of national demographics. This is clear not only in racial and gender disparities, but also in the generational breakdown:

+ The Trump team’s lawsuits collectively target nearly 2.5 million votes, which, if they succeeded, would exclude one in 10 ballots cast in the key battleground states.

+ A new study finds that trust in vaccine safety, should a COVID-19 vaccine become available soon, is especially low in Black and Latinx communities.

+ The UN Refugee Agency renewed concerns of increasing gender-based violence during the pandemic. The first three-quarters of 2020 saw 40 percent more violent incidents among Venezuelan refugees in Colombia than reported in 2019.

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.