War on Women Report: Women Athletes Must Play in Bikinis?; Black Women Legislators Arrested in Name of Voting Rights; The Mistreatment of Black Scholars

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The War on Women was in full force under the Trump administration. But despite a transition of administration, the War on Women is still seeping into federal, state and local legislation and attempting to reverse important progressive policies. While the battle may look different, we are staying vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching.

This is the War on Women Report.


Since Our Last Report…

+ Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Black scholar and creator of the famed 1619 Project, which aims to recenter the contributions of Black Americans in U.S. history. After a strenuous tenure approval process at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hannah-Jones announced on July 6 she would be denying the position at UNC. Instead, Hannah-Jones will head to Howard University, an HBCU, where she will found a Center for Journalism and Democracy and serve as the school’s inaugural Knight chair in race and journalism—a tenured role.

During the tenure case, despite Hannah-Jones’s strong recommendations from their peers and administrators, there was pushback among the board of trustees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about political and donor pressure not to tenure the scholar. Though she was finally granted tenure in late June, Hannah-Jones announced the difficult process had revealed to her being a tenured Tar Heel was not shaping up to be the experience she thought it would be.

“I was very intentional in making that choice, and I hope that it will help others to consider that maybe they can take their talents to HBCUs as well,” Hannah-Jones said in an interview.

Thursday, July 15

+ Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested at the Hart Senate Office Building after joining a group of peaceful protesters to speak out about voter suppression. Beatty—donning a shirt which read “Protect Our Voting Rights” and an outfit intentionally composed of components of red, white and blue to represent democracy—joined the protesters to speak out against the coordinated nationwide efforts to restrict voting rights. The protest was largely composed of other Black women, who gathered that morning with the intention to follow in the footsteps of the late John Lewis to cause some “good trouble” and call on the Senate to pass the For the People Act.

“When the clarion call came to stand up, to say something, to do something, to get the attention of the nation, I said absolutely,” Beatty told Elle.

Monday, July 19

+ The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been fined 1,500 euros total ($1,700) for refusing to play in bikini bottoms during a game in the sport’s Euro 2021 tournament. Though their male counterparts can play in tank tops and shorts, the women, who played in thigh-length elastic shorts in their bronze medal match against Spain this past Sunday, were fined for “improper clothing.” The alternative outfit was worn in direct protest against the International Handball Federation guidelines, which mandate “a close fit and a cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.”

Tuesday, July 20

+ Billionaire and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went to suborbital space aboard a ship built by his company, Blue Origin. Amidst this wave of rich men and atmospheric exploration—Richard Branson also saw the stars aboard his own aircraft last week—many are left evaluating the importance of private ventures such as these in an era where millions are still recovering from pandemic-induced poverty and unemployment, the Earth is more susceptible than ever to the growing forces of climate change and the work culture at Amazon is borderline abusive. Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC opinion columnist, summed it up:

“Bezos took things to a new level when he thanked his employees at Amazon, so many of whom he infamously exploited, for making his questionable venture possible. Reports over the years have said Amazon aggressively surveils its drivers and warehouse workers using cutting-edge technology; forces them to work in unsafe working conditions; places them on such demanding schedules that they’re forced to urinate and defecate in water bottles and bags during their shifts; and illegally cracks down on their rights to form unions. … If Bezos wants to show gratitude to his employees, he should treat them like humans.”

“It’s time for Jeff Bezos to take care of business right here on Earth and pay his fair share in taxes,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted.

+ While Bezos’s trip to space and the conversation surrounding commercial exploration are controversial, the trip did result in one direct victory for women after years of sex-based discrimination: Wally Funk, one of few female pilots who was accepted into NASA’s Women in Space Program in 1961, made history as the oldest person to go into space alongside Bezos Tuesday morning after being denied participation for years because of her gender. Funk applied to be an astronaut four separate times across the span of her life, but was never allotted the opportunity—despite her special selection by NASA at the beginning of her career. Funk emerged from the spacecraft landing in Texas overjoyed after finally having achieved a lifelong dream. 

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About and

Khira Hickbottom is an editorial fellow with Ms. magazine and a rising junior student at Tulane University studying English and Africana Studies. Additionally, she is also presently interning at Birthmark Doula Collective doing research surrounding emergency preparedness for infant feeding. Khira loves roller skating, dill pickle chips, and bad reality television.
Marty Garbarini is an editorial fellow at Ms. A rising senior at Smith College, she studies government and public policy as well as the study of women and gender. Marty is particularly interested in the rights of incarcerated women as well as election coverage and the workings of the U.S. Government. In her free time, Marty could sing you any Broadway ballad or make you a mean friendship bracelet. This summer, she is also working on a bill with Massachusetts State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa which would improve the reproductive rights of incarcerated women in Massachusetts.