Keeping Score: Super Bowl Marked by Feminist Firsts; Stacey Abrams Up for Nobel Prize

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 in this biweekly round-up.


This week in Keeping Score: Amanda Gorman, Sarah Thomas and Buccaneers coaches make Super Bowl history; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opens up about sexual assault; Stacey Abrams nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize; Gov. Cuomo repeals “walking while trans” ban; secretary Pete Buttigieg is first openly gay man confirmed by the Senate; Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul released from prison; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is first African and first woman director general of the WTO; and more!
Clockwise from left: Loujain al-Hathloul; Stacey Abrams; AOC; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Pete Buttigieg.

Lest We Forget 

+ “These folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize. These are the same tactics of abusers. … And I’m a survivor of sexual assault. And I haven’t told many people that in my life, but when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.”

—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an Instagram Live, condemning the violence she experienced on Jan. 6 and demanding accountability.

+ “There is a very long history of women needing to show bruises, or broken bones, or bloody wounds to prove they were harmed; there is a long history of bruises and broken bones and bloody wounds not being enough. There’s always a reason: She was wearing tight jeans. Maybe she’s just confused. It’s ‘he said, she said.’ There’s no physical evidence. A woman’s testimony is rarely evidence enough, which is why, throughout the #MeToo movement, men saw consequences only when they were accused by three, four, five, ten women—or, in the case of the former president, were accused by dozens and saw no consequences at all.”

—Attorney and author Jill Filipovic, in the wake of Evan Rachel Wood’s not-so-secret accusations of domestic violence and sexual assault against former partner Marilyn Manson.

+ “[The testimony] is some of the most horrendous evidence I have seen since the atrocity began. … This confirms the very worst of what we have heard before. It provides authoritative and detailed evidence of sexual abuse and torture at a level clearly greater than what we had assumed.”

—Adrian Zenz, an expert who provided internal documents on Chinese Uighur camps to the BBC.

+ “Justices of this Court are not scientists. Nor do we know much about public health policy. Yet today the Court displaces the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic. … That mandate defies our caselaw, exceeds our judicial role, and risks worsening the pandemic.”

—Justice Elana Kagan, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Breyer, dissenting to a Supreme Court ruling which blocked a ban on indoor religious services in California.

Let us walk with these warriors,

Charge on with these champions,

And carry forth the call of our captains!

We celebrate them by acting

With courage and compassion,

By doing what is right and just.

For while we honor them today,

It is them who every day honor us.

—Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, 22, in her Super Bowl poem “Chorus of the Captains.”

+ “If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying… We have about seven women at the organizing committee but everyone understands their place.”

—Tokyo Olympics chief and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori at a Japan Olympic Committee Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3. After facing backlash for his comments, Mori eventually announced his intention to resign.

Milestones

+ At President Biden’s request, Antony Blinken’s State Department rejoined the U.N. Human Rights Council, which Trump withdrew from in June 2018. Blinken said the former administration’s decision “did nothing to encourage meaningful change, but instead created a vacuum of U.S. leadership, which countries with authoritarian agendas have used to their advantage.”

+ Following his pleas to Georgia officials demanding that they “find” enough votes to overturn the election results, Donald Trump is facing a criminal investigation by state prosecutors. The announcement came prior to his acquittal by 43 U.S. senators on Saturday, Feb. 13.

“Anyone who violates the law will be prosecuted, no matters what their social status is, no matter what their economics are, no matter what their race or gender is,” said District Attorney Fani Willis of Fulton County, Ga. “We are not going to treat anyone differently.”

+ Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, credited with ensuring record voter turnout in Georgia this year, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize on Monday, Feb. 1. Norweigan parliament member Lars Haltbrekken made the announcement, declaring that “Abrams’ work follows in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s footsteps in the fight for equality before the law and for civil rights.”

+ In coming out as gay at age 36, country artist T.J. Osborne became the first artist signed to a major country label to do so. Though the Brothers Osborne vocalist has been aware of his sexuality since childhood and is “very comfortable being gay,” the public announcement is a major milestone in the world of country music.

+ On Sunday, Feb. 7, Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar became the first women to coach an NFL team to Super Bowl victory. Down judge Sarah Thomas also became the first woman to officiate the competition.

+ Meanwhile, the WNBA received high praise for its hiring practices, which foster racial and gender diversity: The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) report card gave the league an A+.

+ Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature approved repealing the so-called “walking while trans” ban. State Senator and bill sponsor Brad Hoylman said the 1976 law “led to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement by targeting women from marginalized groups that are at high risk for sex trafficking and other exploitation and abuse” by allowing for unwarranted stop-and-frisks, most harshly targeting trans people of color.

+ The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Thursday, Feb. 11 that it will—by way of a presidential executive order—prohibit housing discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

+ In 2020, state lawmakers had only introduced 35 bills to restrict voting access by Feb. 3, compared with 106 in the same amount of time in 2021. (Click here for a full breakdown of changes to voting legislation this year.)

+ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), an outspoken Q-Anon supporter, was stripped of her two committee assignments by House Democrats. “We know the result of these violent conspiracy theories,” said House Rules Committee chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “We saw that on Jan. 6. We know what it leads to. I don’t ever want to see that again. And we all should make clear where we stand on this.”

+ Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay man confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

+ Ann Berry will be the eighth woman and first African American secretary of the Senate since the position was created in 1789.

+ Over the past six years, no women received Golden Globe nominations for the best director category. This year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Associated nominated three: Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland,” Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” and Regina King for “One Night in Miami.” This is the first year more than one woman has been nominated, with only five other female best director nominees in Golden Globe history.

+ As a result of legal pressure, Aetna, a major American health insurance provider, has agreed to cover breast augmentation procedures for transgender women—a surgery they previously deemed cosmetic.

+ Feminist Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from a six-year prison sentence after only three years. “Releasing her was the right thing to do,” Biden said of the Saudi government’s decision.

+ Appointed director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday, Feb. 15, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be the first African and first woman to hold the position. The Biden administration endorsed Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy.

+ French officials are working to establish 15 as the legal age of consent, so that sexual acts with a child are considered rape, even if they didn’t occur “under violence, duress, threat or surprise.”

+ After a long journalistic career spent advocating for fellow Latinx immigrants, Cuban Daily News columnist Albor Ruiz died at age 80.


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How We’re Doing

+ A KHN analysis of 23 states revealed that white Americans are often being vaccinated at more than double the rate of Black Americans. For example, 5.5 percent of white Florida residents received one dose of the vaccine by Jan. 26, whereas only 2 percent of Black residents had.

+ An NYU report concluded that not only is there no evidence of anti-conservative bias by media companies, but also that “the claim of anti-conservative animus is itself a form of disinformation.”

+ Native Americans are dying at a rate nearly double that of white Americans, with one in 475 having died from COVID. Only one in 825 White Americans lost their lives to the disease.

+ Fifty-five percent of Americans favor the popular vote as the determining factor in presidential elections, while only 43 prefer to keep the Electoral College system in place, according to a January poll by Pew Research Center.

+ As President Joe Biden continues to champion his $1.9 trillion COVID-relief plan, a GQR survey found that over three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) are similarly hoping for a major stimulus package—including 64 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Independents.

+ Seventy percent of Americans also want Biden to prioritize lowering health care costs, including insurance premiums and drug pricing, according to a new Gallup poll.

+  Eighty percent of Americans want Congress to pass a proposal for $1,400 per person stimulus checks, including 68 percent of Republicans making less than $50k a year.

+ “Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would benefit 27 million workers and would lead to a 10-year increase in wages of $333 billion for the low-wage work force—the same work force that has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 economic shock and worked in essential jobs that have kept the economy going,” the Economic Policy Institute reported on on Feb. 8.

+ A new survey backs up the theory of the “motherhood penalty.” Mirza reported “working women planning to have children in the next five years expect to lose 37 percent of their salary during the first year of parenthood,” and nearly three-quarters believe motherhood will hinder their careers.

+ Women, who bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic economically and comprise 70 percent of frontline workers, “are being excluded from COVID-19 response and recovery plans.” A poll found that women don’t have a sufficient say in the pandemic response. For example, only one-in-five members of WHO’s emergency committee are women.

+ Although Democrats won back the presidency and the Senate, state legislatures shifted towards Republican majorities in 2020. In 29 states, the majority of members are against the right to abortion.

+ Ten percent of female college students suffer the effects of ongoing period poverty, according to a study by George Mason University. Another 14 percent struggled to pay for menstrual products at some point within the year.

+ A National Women’s Law Center analysis found that nearly 2.2 million women left the labor force in just seven months of the pandemic.

+ “Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reported between $172 million and $640 million in outside income while working in the White House,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reported after analyzing relevant financial records.

“Both Kushner and Trump announced they would not take a salary while working for the government in an attempt to shut down nepotism concerns. While their supporters marked this as a public sacrifice, the massive amount of money they made on the side undercuts that argument, as government salaries would have been less than 1 percent of their income.”


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About

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a freshman at Tufts University. She was a Ms. editorial fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.