Feminist Journalism Is Essential to Democracy

In the decades since Ms. magazine was launched, and in the face of a constantly-evolving media landscape, the need for feminist-focused news coverage and perspective has perhaps never been greater than it is today.

With this installment of Women & Democracy, we are proud to partner with the International Women’s Media Foundation, an essential resource for strengthening the twin goals of gender equity and press freedom worldwide. Our shared grounding principle: Journalists can and must boldly, unequivocally center women’s lives and feminist perspectives.

Take the issue of abortion. Since the moment the Dobbs decision was leaked in 2022, feminist media outlets have reported that support for abortion would dominate U.S. elections and covered it accordingly—even as much of the mainstream media equivocated. The same is true of other core gender equality issues, from countering violence, to solving the climate crisis, to addressing the economy, to championing the Equal Rights Amendment.

We include in this site written, audio and video content covering a wide range of topics, some of which was created and produced as part of the tour for the new book, 50 YEARS OF Ms. We gratefully acknowledge the many advocates, activists, writers, and leaders who have been part of that journey—as well as the extraordinary nonprofit and membership newsrooms, hubs, and sites whose work inspires us (among them, our colleagues at Rewire News GroupThe 19th*Women’s Media CenterThe Coalition For Women In Journalism, Abortion Every DayThe Meteor, The Fuller Project and DAME).

Feminist journalism is essential to public discourse. It is essential to political debate. And it is absolutely essential to free and fair democracy.

  • The Meaning of Ms.

    Ms. has always been more than a magazine. Ms. covers news and makes it, reports on trends and helps create them. The magazine has sparked laws and judicial changes, influenced policy, generated new vocabulary and forced action on issues too long ignored. Our readers recognize the impact Ms. has made over the past 50 years. We asked what Ms. means to you—and we were moved by your replies.

  • 50 Years of Ms. Magazine

    Since its founding in 1971, Ms. magazine has been a source for news, analysis and commentary with a feminist point of view. In this panel, the magazine’s executive editor Katherine Spillar looks back on the legacy of Ms. and the future of feminism, alongside labor rights champion Dolores Huerta; Eleanor Smeal, co-founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation; Carmen Rios, consulting digital editor for Ms.; and Michele Bratcher Goodwin, award-winning author and executive director of Ms. Studios. Read More

Ms. Studios


This Episode: Wonder Women

In 1972, Ms. magazine published its first issue — featuring on its cover the Hindu goddess Kali depicted as an over-taxed housewife. And in India, an exploding national film industry was challenging ideas about gender roles and social norms. Two guests join us live to discuss the feminist landscape in print and at the movies.

Journalism will only get better if we, as individuals, bring the next generation forward.

Fredricka Whitfield, CNN Weekend Edition anchor

Since the day the Dobbs decision leaked in May 2022, feminist journalists have presciently, relentlessly reported that abortion would remain a top priority for voters, even as much of the traditional media continued to equivocate

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, executive director of Ms. partnerships and strategy

Many news organizations are not equipped to deal with this sort of harassment, mainly because most news organizations are headed by men that don’t experience this sort of violence.

Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of IWMF

It’s about making sure that we have a multiracial coalition of women across backgrounds and experiences, coming together to find solutions, to name problems and to raise hell.

Carmen Rios, feminist writer and broadcaster and the former digital editor for Ms.

There was an article in Ms. magazine called “The Green Motel” that inspired one woman who had suffered years of being raped and sexually harassed to come forward with her story and go approach the company. That article gave so many women the courage to speak up to stop the terrible harassment and treatment of women farmworkers.

Dolores Huerta, celebrated labor rights activist and member of the Ms. advisory board

Ms. has always broken the silence on issues that mainstream media barely touched or refused to cover.

Kathy Spillar, Ms. executive editor

In addition to political issues [of the day], my concern has been—and will always be—the human story, and the daily suffering of my people under occupation

Shireen Abu Akleh (1971–2022), Palestinian American journalist and posthumous winner of the 2023 Courage in Journalism Award

Women photojournalists are often in the minority and gender discrimination still exists: Now more than ever it’s critical to recognize the achievements of women in journalism

Heidi Levine, recipient of the IWMF’s inaugural Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award in 2015

Ms. faithfully chronicled my 20-year fight to create the National Women’s History Museum on the Mall [in Washington, D.C.]. It should have taken two years. Without Ms.’ coverage and advocacy, we might still be fighting.

Carolyn Maloney, former member of the House of Representatives

Ms. became the textbook I never had. … The magazine told me I wasn’t alone. Our numbers are immeasurable.

Francesca Seni Pardo, student and Ms. reader

[Lindsay Van Gelder's 1972 article "The Most Unforgettable Employer We’ve Ever Met"] pulled together what our group of women suspected. We were not imagining slights or substandard opportunities. We had reasons to be upset. We had a case.

Elaine Auerbach, writer and Ms. reader

It seems audacious, even today, that one could start a revolution by telling stories often ignored in the mainstream, written by voices that have been cast aside. And yet, that is the very model that has allowed Ms. to serve as a catalyst for social change.

Suzanne Nossel, PEN America CEO

This is a call to action for journalists to produce news which empowers girls and women to believe that their voice is of value and that they have agency to change the course of their lives

Luba Kassova, author of “The Missing Perspectives of Women in News" report

It was especially important to have positive images in the first decades of the magazine, to counteract the negative stereotypes of Black women that were and still are infused in media coverage.

Linda Villarosa, director of the journalism program at City College in Harlem and former executive editor of Ms.

We wake up thinking about a gender lens on our stories every day.

Errin Haines, The 19th's editor-at-large

Abortion and the economy should be discussed hand in hand as we move into election season.

Roxy Szal, managing digital editor at Ms.

Ms. made feminism modern, relevant and accessible for me. It grounded an otherwise abstract concept into the lives and lived experiences of all kinds of diverse women and I recognized myself in many of them.

Amy C. Willis, holistic sober coach, speaker and Ms. reader

Diversity is still a huge issue. We need more people of color in positions of power to green light content. If you want to see content of color, then it has to be in the hands of people of color

Issa Rae, director, producer and actor

At Ms. Studios, we center your concerns about rebuilding our nation and advancing the promise of equality.

Michele Goodwin, executive director of Ms. Studios