Mothers Have Led the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement

Tarana Burke, Oleta ‘Lee’ Kirk Abrams and Lucy Tibbs are a few of the many mothers of survivors and survivors that are mothers who have long been leading the movement to end sexual violence. 

Today, we thank mothers for their work leading the movement to end sexual violence. For far too long, they have had to protect themselves, advocate for their community and lead the national movement. We must all take responsibility to end sexual violence.

Separate Is Never Equal: Authors Margaret Beale Spencer and Nancy E. Dowd on Ensuring Equality for America’s Children

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine that allowed public schools to segregate students by race in 1954, it opened the possibility of radical change. But 70 years later, the promise of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education has yet to be realized.

Psychologist Margaret Beale Spencer and attorney Nancy E. Dowd, authors of Radical Brown: Keeping the Promise to America’s Children, interrogate why progress has been slow and uneven.

Taylor Swift, Underdog Voices, and Women’s Historical Right to ‘Bolt’

“The Bolter,” in Taylor Swift’s eyes, is a woman who does not fit traditional society. Swift gives the bolter a voice—one that until now had been silent. She’s a woman not interested in being a trophy wife for the masses to admire. She has her own desires, preferences and demands, but her hopes and dreams are stifled by the rules that others want her to play by. She is unwilling to give of herself to play this role.  

Arizona’s 1864 Abortion Law Was Made in a Women’s Rights Desert. Here’s What Life Was Like Then.

In 1864, Arizona—which was an official territory of the United States—was a vast desert. Women in Arizona could not vote, serve on juries or exercise full control over property in a marriage. They had no direct say in laws governing their bodies. Hispanic and African American women had even fewer rights than white women.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2024, that a 160-year-old abortion ban passed during this territorial period will go into effect. Since that ruling, the Arizona legislature has been grappling with how to handle the near-total ban. Even if the ban is fully repealed, it could still take temporary effect this summer.

As someone who teaches history in Arizona and researches slavery, I think it is useful to understand what life was like in Arizona when this abortion ban was in force.

From Rachel Carson to Wangari Maathai—Meet the Women Who Ignited Environmental Movements

The environmental and feminist movements have grown like stems and branches of a twisting vine or tree. Sometimes merging, sometimes growing apart. At times they have strengthened each other, yet at other times they have grown distant. Ultimately, they both address similar forces of oppression and exploitation. They share a common goal of dismantling the “status quo.” Their shared vision is the thriving of both women and nature. Climate change is not just an environmental crisis—it is a feminist crisis as well. 

The Arizona Abortion Fight Is a Reminder That Progress Is Not Linear

April’s U.S. political news admittedly brought many horrors—from Alabama legislators advancing a bill to define sex based on “reproductive systems,” not gender identity; to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing an Idaho ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect; to the Arizona Supreme Court upholding an abortion ban from 1864, which opens the door to criminalizing health providers with up to five years of prison time if they provide abortion services. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called the ruling “a huge step backwards.”

Legal changes in the present may appear to be reversing earlier advancements, as Romero said. But advocates of equity need a better grasp of history so they are realistic about the intermittent successes of movements for social change. The fight for full gender equality is a long game.

Why the ‘Tradwife’ Life Is More Dangerous Than Ever Before

They were soulmates. At least that’s what Olivia thought—and Brad said. When they reconnected over a decade later, it seemed like fate.

Brad was charismatic. Within a couple years, Olivia was pregnant, and Brad wanted her to stay home. “He didn’t use the term ‘tradwife’ but that’s what he wanted,” she said, referring to the social media trend glorifying the traditional wife of the 1950s who tends the home and has no financial independence. “I felt like a slave. He expected me to keep the house clean while caring for our baby. … If I didn’t wear makeup and have my hair done, he would ask why. … The only thing with my name on it was a joint Costco card.”

After he cheated multiple times, they got divorced and she got no alimony. Brad lives in a comfortable home thanks to his well-paying job. Olivia lives in a trailer.

“If you refrain from building your own success, it’s very dangerous,” she said. “Being a ‘tradwife’ is like playing Russian roulette.”

Six Decades of Fighting for Women in Politics: Cynthia Richie Terrell, Founder of RepresentWomen

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation in politics, on boards, in sports and entertainment, in judicial offices and in the private sector in the U.S. and around the world—with a little gardening and goodwill mixed in for refreshment! The Weekend Reading began on Oct. 9, 2014, and was first formed as a listserv to share information on research, events and articles on strategies to advance women in politics. Released every Friday, the popular column has been online on Ms. almost every week now for four years.

In this special edition, we journey through founder and executive director of RepresentWomen Cynthia Richie Terrell’s writings that prove her heart in this work, take a trip through memory lane through her beloved pictures, and, more importantly, engage with RepresentWomen by supporting her team’s fundraising efforts to advance women’s representation and leadership in the United States.

Celebrating First Lady Betty Ford and Her Work for the Equal Rights Amendment

On Friday, April 5, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will issue a commemorative Forever stamp and hold an event to celebrate the life and legacy of Betty Ford, who served as first lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977. 

As first lady and wife of a Republican president, Betty Ford carved out a role for herself that included advocating for issues she cared about—including ratification of the ERA.

The Legacy of Black Cowgirls

Ahead of Beyoncé’s release of Cowboy Carter, we spoke to Black women and girls making waves in rodeo.

When Beyoncé announced the ode to her country and Southern roots, it sent some fans and naysayers into a social media frenzy. But for real-life cowgirls and rodeo veterans, it was a time to feel nothing but pride. Their wish for all the Beyoncé uproar? Those folks will finally recognize that Black women and girls reign supreme at the rodeo.