From the overturning of Roe v. Wade and continuing economic uncertainty, to widespread protests in Iran and increased diversity in politics, 2022 was a year of significant defeat and considerable victories.
To ring in the new year, Ms. asked a few of our favorite feminists—reproductive justice advocates, scholars, legal minds, voting rights activists, Ms. staffers and environmental justice experts—what they are wishing for in 2023.
“As the new year approaches, we wish for peace, justice and equality for all. We’re expecting great things from all the newly-elected feminists in Congress and governor’s offices and state legislatures across the country.”—Ms. magazine editorial team
Reproductive Justice: ‘A Call Back to Care’
“2022 has been a year of joy and pain, triumph and tragedy for the reproductive health, rights and justice movements. We have a long road ahead in the fight for justice for our communities and we are committed to seeing it through.
“As we head into 2023, my wish for our movement is a call back to care. As doctors, we are taught that care is our primary directive, but our systems are so often not designed to truly support that mandate.
“I wish for us to reconnect with our commitment to care for each other and for ourselves. I want us to be bold and brave, to center the wisdom of our communities and to listen to each other’s calls for support.
“I hope 2023 finds leaning into these commitments to one another. Our lives and our communities depend on it.”—Dr. Jamila Perritt, president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health and ob-gyn and abortion provider in Washington, D.C.
“In 2023, we need abortion justice! Restoring Roe v. Wade will not ensure everyone can get the abortion care they need. To ensure equal access to abortion, we must think bigger and our solutions must be bolder. Let’s create a world where abortion care is there for anyone who needs it without barriers based on who you are, where you’re from or how much you earn. Abortion justice belongs here—in our communities, city halls, state legislatures, in Congress and the White House.”—Morgan Hopkins, president of All* Above All and All* Above All Action Fund, leading All* Above All’s work to achieve abortion justice and build the political power of voters of color
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has caused a devastating, long-lasting public health crisis across the country, opening the floodgates for state politicians to ban abortion. As of now, abortion bans have eliminated all or some abortion in 18 states, leaving one in three women of reproductive age, and more people who can become pregnant, without the power to control their own bodies.
“In 2023, we want to see more actions taken to protect equitable access to abortion on a national scale—like the FDA’s permanent removal of medically unnecessary barriers to medication abortion late last year.
“Restrictions on abortion—including medication abortion and medication abortion via telemedicine—force patients to travel hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of miles or wait weeks to get an abortion, if they have the resources to access services at all. These barriers often have a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality healthcare.
“In 2023, we hope more states supportive of abortion rights enact laws that will protect and expand access for all. Every day, millions of supporters around the country join the fight against restrictions that make safe, legal abortion harder and harder to access. We hope that 2023 brings more stigma-busting through activism, storytelling and sex education.
“Planned Parenthood believes deeply that all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what they earn—should have the agency to make their own personal decisions about their bodies, their families and their futures, including insurance coverage for the full range of healthcare including birth control and safe, legal abortion. That’s the world we ultimately want to see, and the world Planned Parenthood works toward every day.”—Danika Severino Wynn, CNM, an advanced practice midwife and vice president of abortion access at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
“Above all else, my 2023 wish is that no one faces the indignity and horror of pregnancy-related criminalization.
“Absent that, I sincerely hope more people understand that losing our fundamental right to abortion has impacts far beyond abortion and that people will face increased criminalization for doing anything during pregnancy that law enforcement believes poses even a potential risk of harm to the fetus.
“And I hope more people recognize that our fight for reproductive rights, health and justice is a fight for abolition; to dismantle the carceral systems that have unjustly policed people of color, poor people, people with mental health illnesses and people who use drugs; and that we understand that reproductive justice is a criminal justice and an abolitionist imperative.”—Dana Sussman, acting executive director of Pregnancy Justice (formerly National Advocates for Pregnant Women), a resource for people facing pregnancy-related criminalization (Contact them; they may be able to help.)
“I wish that all women and people with unwanted pregnancies will be able to get abortion pills so that they can do the abortions they need on their own terms, with dignity and take control over their lives and future.”—Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, medical doctor, founder and director of Women on Waves and Aid Access (If you want abortion pills for possible use in the future, visit Aid Access. Next year, Women on Waves will research how to make the abortion pill available as a weekly and on-demand contraceptive; support that research here.)
“My wish for 2023 is the democratization of birth control with fewer cost and access barriers, including over-the-counter contraceptive pills and vending machines with emergency contraception (EC) on college campuses and in community centers everywhere.
“Students across the country are demanding 24/7 vending machine access to EC at cost ($7.25 a dose) and the FDA is currently considering an application for the first over-the-counter birth control pill. I hope they approve it quickly and CVS, Walgreens and other large chains make the pill widely available on pharmacy shelves.
“I also wish for increased access to abortion pills. The FDA is about to release guidelines for pharmacy certification to stock and distribute the abortion pill mifepristone for the first time. I hope the certification process is easy and pharmacies across the country become certified and stock abortion pills. In states where abortion is legal, this promises to vastly increase access to abortion pills.”— Carrie N. Baker, J.D., Ph.D., the Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College and contributing editor at Ms.
“My wish for 2023 is an over-the-counter birth control pill option available to people of all ages. The evidence is there that birth control pills are safe and effective medications (so much that it is already available OTC in over 100 countries), and the application for a progestin-only pill opens up new possibilities for what a world with increased access looks like.
“After spending two years fighting to access birth control myself, I spent my time in high school helping fellow young people access birth control—driving a dozen students over 40 minutes to appointments every month, navigating the Title X clinic process which is now under attack, and navigating the inequities of underinsurance and lack of insurance in our current health system.
“Since coming to college, those barriers have changed but remain ever-present—the reality is that inequalities have always existed and remain in our healthcare system, affecting our ability to access essential care like birth control.
“My wish is that the FDA and Biden administration will follow the science (as they’ve promised on so much else!) and let everyone—regardless of age, race, class, gender or sexuality—have a greater say in their reproductive journey and access to contraceptives.”—Beau Nelson, an activist in Advocates for Youth’s #FreeThePill youth council and a student at Williams College in Massachusetts. The report sharing findings from the #FreeThePill youth council’s oral contraceptive access survey with more stories like Beau’s can be found here.
Climate Justice: ‘Imagine a Healthy and Just Future’
“In 2023 I’m wishing for continued collective action and collaboration to bring forth just climate solutions. As the climate crisis worsens, it is clear through our work at WECAN that women, feminists and gender-diverse leaders are providing the strategies and solutions necessary to meet the urgency of this moment.
“I hope for fossil fuel phaseout, the protection of Indigenous rights and sovereignty, the defense of women land defenders and the proliferation of gender equity throughout the climate movement.
“Let us continue to build on the work of powerful leaders to protect forests and biodiversity, build innovative climate solutions, resist oppressive systems and imagine a healthy and just future for me, for you, for our entire planet.”— Katherine Quaid (Cayuse/Nez Perce/Paiute), communications and outreach coordinator for the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), a solutions-based organization engaging women worldwide for global climate justice
Justice for Indigenous Peoples
“We must heed the voices of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities across the globe, who have borne the brunt of colonial and neocolonial violence, past and present — and who have the solutions. As Emira Woods (African Rising for Justice, Peace, and Dignity + Green Leadership Trust) tells us, ‘We’ve got to recognize when we talk about climate change, those who have paid the heaviest price are also those who have the solutions and must be in the decision making.’
May 2023 bring us closer to ‘Land Back + Water Back + Star Knowledge Back + Ceremony Back + Language Back + Culture Back + Matriarchy Back’ (@RedHornWoman).”— Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, 17th-generation daughter of Taiwan, and chair and professor of women’s and gender studies at Southern Connecticut State University (which sits on the unceded ancestral homelands of Paugussett, Quinnipiac and other Indigenous peoples)
“My wish for 2023 is for more attention and action to be concentrated on missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. I hope to increase my own engagement in this area and to continue to help support empowerment and healing of all women and trans/nonbinary/gender nonconforming people through increased access to useful, reliable and relevant information and collective wisdom.”— Karla J. Strand, Ms. contributing editor, librarian, writer and historian (Her new business, Origins Historical Research, will officially launch in Jan 2023.)
Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment: ‘We Will Get There. Together.’
“My wish in 2023 is to finally have sex equality enshrined in the U.S. Constitution through the Equal Rights Amendment.
“We saw how precarious our rights really are when anti-feminist misogynists on the court and in state legislatures rolled back protections we thought were settled precedent. Their only goal is to control women and their bodies, and this has demonstrated the clear need for equal legal protections in the Constitution.
“We will only get there by working alongside allies from other movements like unions, civil rights organizations, LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights groups and others whose voices have also been marginalized throughout the history of this country.
“But we will get there. Together. And that is my wish for 2023.”—Zakiya Thomas, president and CEO of the ERA Coalition
“My wish for 2023 is for the Equal Rights Amendment to be published in the United States Constitution. Young women and queer people’s equality is under attack. Whether it’s criminalizing abortion, banning gender-affirming healthcare or weakening Title IX protections, the need for the ERA is clear. Young people wish, and demand, our Constitution explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. In 2023, 100 years after Alice Paul wrote the ERA, I wish the leaders young people elected to fight for our equality work with us to get the ERA across the finish line.”—Rosie Couture, founder and executive director of Generation Ratify, a movement of over 12,000 young people organizing for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and advancement of gender justice
Survivor Support: ‘The Burden Should Not Be on Them’
“My wish for 2023 is for student survivors of gender-based violence to have access to the community support, resources, and options that honor their autonomy.
“Currently, anti-survivor backlash, rhetoric and policies are making it even more difficult for students to access support from their schools and understand their Title IX rights to an education free from violence.
“I am so proud of the student organizers and survivors pushing for change every day in their communities. Yet, the burden should not be on them.
“My hope is that those in power—in schools, in the government and as advocates—will put aside inhibiting concerns about reputation, money and power to meaningfully advocate for survivors’ demands for change and transform the conditions that perpetuate gender-based violence.
“I dream of a world in which survivors everywhere are held in community, provided with accountability processes that meet their needs and have the resources to heal and pursue their own dreams.”—Emma Grasso Levine, Title IX policy and program manager of Know Your IX, a youth- and survivor-led project of Advocates for Youth empowering students to end gender-based violence in schools
Diversity in Political Representation: ‘Women’s Underrepresentation Is Both Cause and Effect of Inequitable Treatment’
“My wish for the new year is for continued advancement of understanding about how women’s underrepresentation in positions of power in the public sphere relates to their overrepresentation in experiencing inequitable outcomes such as pay disparities, gender-based violence, higher student loan debt and discrimination in patient care.
“Researchers and academics can play a vital role in raising awareness about the extent of women’s underrepresentation—documenting with data where advancements have been made and progress is still needed, and bringing to light the rhetorical and institutional structures that serve as gatekeeping boundaries for women seeking power, including damaging narratives of rape culture which have both interpersonal and geopolitical implications.
“Understanding women’s underrepresentation as both cause and effect of inequitable treatment in law and policy can fuel collaborative efforts of academics, activists and advocates to reduce disparities and improve life outcomes and justice for all.”—Bonnie Stabile, Ph.D., associate dean and associate professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government; founder and director of the Gender and Policy (GAP) Center; and author of ‘Women, Power, and Rape Culture: The Politics and Policy of Underrepresentation’
Youth Healthcare Reform
“Youth in foster care face many unique barriers to accessing reproductive and sexual healthcare and education, a situation only worsened after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
“My hope for 2023 is that we continue to dismantle systemic barriers in healthcare, foster care and other systems to prioritize the bodily autonomy and healthy sexual development of young people in foster care. Youth and the adults who support them should be equipped with resources aimed at empowering young people and supporting their sexual development.
“The Reproductive Health Equity Project (RHEP) has been working in partnership with young people in care to change the current landscape of sexual and reproductive health in the foster care system. As we enter our first post-Roe new year, it’s as critical as ever that we all provide youth in foster care with what they need to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health with knowledge, dignity and respect — because healthy development is on all of us.”— Cindy Cruz, director at Reproductive Health Equity Project for Foster Youth at the National Center for Youth Law. (Check out their podcasts: Self-Taught and Fostering Parenthood.)
Educational Freedom: ‘Feminist University’
“My wish for 2023 is for the realization of a feminist university culture in which university leaders know how to leverage their power to respond to legislative attacks on the freedom to read, learn and teach because those leaders are experienced and committed to academic freedom, critical thinking and the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in deed, rather than in word.
“Despite Republican claims of a leftist threat in education, DEI counts for just 0.5 percent of university budgets, gender and race focused curricula and programs are continually under threat, 75 percent of faculty in higher ed are off the tenure track and powerless, the ladder to the top in higher ed is broken for women, especially women of color, and feminist leaders who do succeed are often forced to choose between acquiescence and burnout.
“Forty years ago the Norwegian politician, psychologist, and professor Berit Ås campaigned for a cross-cultural, international Feminist University that would forgo traditional disciplines, myopic specializations, and the competition for resources maintained by traditional hierarchies and divisions in order to develop a ‘cross cultural’ and ‘interdisciplinary approach’ that would force open the blind eye of patriarchal research and institutions. Such a university culture would ‘build upon an ideology of giving suppressed people their dignity once again’ and ‘organize faculty and administration in a new way learned from experiments in the Quaker communities, on board ships, from women refugees and smaller schools, in a way characterized by multiple leadership and frequent rotation of jobs.‘
“Imagine how a feminist university could respond to what Jonathan Friedman of PEN America called the swagger of these Republican state legislators if we had 40 years of commitment to a non-hierarchical, collaborative, fair, cross-cultural, intersectional and interdisciplinary university culture.
“Now imagine the larger impact of the education such a university would provide.”— Stacy Keltner, Ph.D., professor of gender and women’s studies at Kennesaw State University and past president of WGS South
“My wishes for 2023 are justice, solidarity, and healing for communities that dealt with abusive partners, governments, colonial powers and political sanctions over the past few years. Women in Afghanistan had to fight the Taliban with bare hands. Ukrainian women left their families and homes and joined communities of refugees. Syrian women spent their 11th year under a civil war that stripped them of their citizenship rights. Palestinian feminists have gone through incarceration, and Indian Dalit and Muslim women confronted rape and assault in the name of nationhood.
“Finally, with the uprising of #WomanLifeFreedom, Iranian people have faced a copious amount of trauma and pain. These unacceptable circumstances did not leave any chance of post-pandemic recovery to communities of women who experienced them.
“As I write these lines, I wish for 2023 to be the year of healing for all courageous people who pushed through 2022 and did not receive the justice they deserved. I am hopeful that 2023 is the year that our feminist dreams, with their various interpretations and flying colors, come through. I wish all of us the strength and sisterhood to stand together in solidarity.”— Yalda Hamidi, assistant professor of gender and women’s studies at Minnesota State University Mankato
Revitalized Feminist Movement: ‘May All Women Recognize the Urgency of This Moment’
“I wish for an energized feminist movement that can put into place a ratified ERA and paid family leave for workers here in the U.S., and reproductive healthcare that includes abortion and contraception across the world. I wish for women’s freedom in Iran and other places still battling state violence. I wish for emerging technologies to align with our mission for gender equity, racial justice and environmental consciousness.”—Janell Hobson, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at the University at Albany; author of ‘When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination‘; and editor of Tubman 200: The Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Project
“That all women recognize the urgency of this political moment—not just for the autonomy of our bodies and decision-making, but for the health and future of this democracy we are trying to achieve and protect.”—Loretta J. Ross, associate professor at Smith College and MacArthur “Genius Grant” award recipient
“My wish for 2023 is that we channel our collective rage, suffering, aspirations and intentions into concrete action toward justice. May we find community, hope and inspiration in the work we do together to create positive change.”—Crystal Marie Fleming, author and editor of four books, including ‘How to Be Less Stupid About Race’ and ‘RISE UP! How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy‘; and professor of sociology and Africana studies at Stony Brook University in New York
“My wish for 2023 is that we who lead, whether it’s by driving voters to the polls, serving meals at a soup kitchen, cleaning homes of others, teaching, learning, marching and marrying whomever we damn well please, continue to lead the struggle to protect our rights and our democracy.
“That means our right to end a pregnancy and to see a doctor who treats us with dignity so we have a healthy one. It means knowing that when we go to work, our kids are cared for and their caretakers are properly paid. It means free and unfettered access to the ballot box, the classroom, the courtroom and the curb. Whether we protest from a wheelchair or advocate in a boardroom, have a passport or not, speak English or not, we are women who lead—no matter how many powerful few try to tell us we don’t.
“At The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we are 230 organizations strong and many of us are women who lead. All of us look like the country and embody the true majority of this country. And everybody has a voice and value.
“My wish is that we know it, feel it and act on our collective power. The Leadership Conference coalition is fighting together to make it all happen and to move our nation—and our democracy— forward.”— Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
“2022 reminded us to take nothing for granted: from reproductive freedom, voting rights, student debt forgiveness and access to affordable quality healthcare, the issues we value have been on the chopping block.
“But voters in Georgia and across the country did not just sit idly by—we fought back! In the streets and at the ballot box, young, Black and brown voters showed up and showed out to save democracy yet again. While we fell short in some races, we nonetheless proved our power. Black Georgians and young voters were central to re-electing the state’s first Black U.S. Senator, Reverend Raphael Warnock. His voice and vote will be critical in the year ahead—and so will all of ours.
“As we head into an off-year in the electoral cycle—our work is far from being ‘off.’
“My wish for 2023 is that the women from all walks of life, young women, Black women and so many others, who helped save democracy in 2020 and 2022 remain engaged and empowered as we hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire and continue to hold them accountable for standing by their campaign promises. Fair Fight will be out front alongside our allies and fellow change-makers to provide the education, organization and resources needed to help all our communities thrive. We got this y’all, because we got us.”— Chelsey Hall, Fair Fight director of media and brand partnerships, and political strategist and advisor to Stacey Abrams
“Our democracy is in crisis and in times like this, we need strong, independent, feminist voices to be heard—and we need their presence in media.
“In these times, I think of the feminists of the 20th century civil rights movement that fought for equality to truly mean all peoples are created equal and for that to be actualized in every state, county, city and town in the United States—women like Pauli Murray, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Yuri Kochiyama, Dolores Huerta, Constance Baker Motley, Diane Nash, Dorothy Height, Ella Baker, Coretta Scott King, Patsy Mink, Grace Lee Boggs and Daisy Bates among many others fought for equality to be more than mere words on paper. We are a better nation for all that their legacies in leadership continue to give.”— Michele Goodwin, executive producer of Ms. Studios; author of ‘Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and The Criminalization of Motherhood‘; and chancellor’s professor at the University of California, Irvine
“I wish the Biden administration would redistribute funding from building military might to committing to the rights of communities to living wage jobs, healthcare, housing, education and more.”—Carol Stabile, professor at the University of Oregon; former director of the University’s Center for the Study of Women in Society; and author of several books, including ‘The Broadcast 41: Women and the Anti-Communist Blacklist‘
Freedom and Equality for All
“As a Black mother, feminist and activist, every year I try to think of a word that I want to stand/meditate and embody.
“For 2023, the word is ‘freedom’—because freedom is a complete sentence. It is rooted in action, rooted in love and rooted in both sacrifice and death. For freedom to live, oppression has to die, and White supremacy must be in a body bag right next to it. For freedom to survive and grow, we must plant commitment and sacrifice right beside it.
“Audre Lorde once wrote that it is your dreams that point the way to freedom, so I am dreaming of freedom, fighting for freedom, standing on freedom and claiming my freedom.”— Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, founding director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice; a professor of communication and African and African American Studies at Loyola University Maryland; and president of the National Women’s Studies Association
“My wish for 2023 is simple: I want to see our society to value people for who they are as individuals and celebrate the critical contributions they make that lift us all up.”—Christian F. Nunes, national president of the National Organization for Women
“My wish for 2023 is an awakening for people who profess religious faith to the core values of love and justice that should characterize how people live their lives and practice their politics.
“In too many instances around the world, and especially in the United States, religion is being misused to justify bigotry, discrimination and violence. With the rise of overt white Christian nationalism here, we’ve seen increased attacks on reproductive rights and the rights of BIPOC, LGBTQ people and immigrants in the name of religion.
“My wish is for a religious politic of love and justice—one that asks of every action, ‘Is this the most loving thing that can be done? Does this move us toward justice?’—one that can be shared with all people of good will, both religious and non-religious, to move us forward toward a beloved worldwide community.”— Susan M. Shaw, professor of women, gender and sexuality Studies at Oregon State University
U.S. democracy is at a dangerous inflection point—from the demise of abortion rights, to a lack of pay equity and parental leave, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and attacks on trans health. Left unchecked, these crises will lead to wider gaps in political participation and representation. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Amendment, and centering the stories of those most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we are redoubling our commitment for the next 50 years. In turn, we need your help, Support Ms. today with a donation—any amount that is meaningful to you. For as little as $5 each month, you’ll receive the print magazine along with our e-newsletters, action alerts, and invitations to Ms. Studios events and podcasts. We are grateful for your loyalty and ferocity.