Keeping Score: Women’s Basketball Reaches New Heights; France Protects Abortion, While Florida Tightens Its Ban

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 this biweekly roundup.

This week: Women’s college basketball smashed viewership records; France passed a constitutional amendment protecting abortion; Florida will soon have a six-week abortion ban; Beyoncé makes history on the country album charts; IWMF honors Palestinian journalist Samar Abu Elouf; Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) managed to include $1 billion for childcare in the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills; federal employees will soon have access to insurance plans that cover fertility services; President Biden announced a new plan to cancel student debt; the Supreme Court allowed Idaho to maintain its ban on gender-affirming care for minors; and more.

A Comedian in the War on Abortion: The Ms. Q&A with Lizz Winstead and Ruth Leitman

Lizz Winstead, comedian and founder of Abortion Access Front, teamed up with director Ruth Leitman to create the hilarious, heart-filled documentary No One Asked You.

“There’s nothing shameful about needing to have an abortion,” Winstead told Ms.

“It’s a medical procedure that people need to help them achieve their life goals, and to help them have the life that they want to have,” said Leitman.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Ranked-Choice Voting Will Open Doors for More Women and Minorities; Women Leaders Convene in Tanzania

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week, read about Arlington’s preparations for RCV in the upcoming November elections; celebrate Shirley Chisholm, who continues to receive high recognition as a new stage play prepares for its debut; explore the impact of the increase in women mayors in Turkey; learn about women leaders advocating for women’s leadership in politics and global health; and uncover why the U.N. is concerned about Georgia’s removal of electoral gender quotas.

A rejuvenating family vacation only strengthened my resolve. With the Fair Representation Act and ranked-choice voting gaining traction, I am optimistic about achieving gender balance in government in my lifetime.

For Families That Need the Most Help, Childcare Costs Are About to Drop

At the end of February, President Joe Biden’s administration announced it was going to require every state to cap its co-payments so that families that receive subsidies pay no more than 7 percent of their income towards childcare. 

This important move addresses the acute need among the lowest-income families, most of whom are families of color. With the change, more than 100,000 families are expected to save about $200 a month on average, according to the White House. The change could also encourage more providers to participate in the subsidy program because they know they’ll be paid consistently for serving low-income students in the same way they are for other children. The new rule is effective April 30. Some states will be able to make the changes quickly; others will need approval from their legislatures. All will need to be in compliance by 2026. 

Who’s Budgeting for Women’s Futures?

For too many—especially women of color—paychecks aren’t keeping up. Inflation is inching downward, but costs for groceries, childcare and rent feel out of reach.

But congressional fights over taxes and spending are really about fundamental questions: What do women, our families and communities need? What kind of future do we want to build? Recent budget proposals by the Biden administration and Republicans in Congress show how our two major political parties answer those questions. The answers were starkly different, revealing high stakes when it comes to women’s ability to participate in the economy, care for their families and control their own reproductive lives. 

Meet the Republican Attorneys General Wreaking Havoc on Abortion Access 

Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) is a veritable legal army of far-right attorneys general. RAGA-member AGs have been especially active in pushing for and enforcing oppressive abortion bans, and are working to fulfill anti-abortion power broker Leonard Leo’s extreme agenda.

Several attorneys general have been especially active in attempting to impose their personal beliefs about abortion on all Americans: Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.

Barbie for President: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the White House Project and the Influence of Women in Leadership

Over the past 30 years, I have served the political arena in several roles—as an elected official, healthcare advocate, and most recently as a public affairs consultant. On panels and at events I’ve attended throughout my career, I’ve consistently heard the age-old question: “Can women have it all?” It’s a question that challenges women, who so often feel stuck when seeking a manageable balance between their personal lives and their careers.

It’s a question Marie Wilson hoped to address 25 years ago when she founded The White House Project, an initiative dedicated to increasing the number of women in leadership roles.

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.

The Best and Worst States for Family Care Policies

In 2021, the Century Foundation published its first care policy report card, “Care Matters,” which graded each state on a number of supportive family policies and worker rights and protections, such as paid sick and paid family leave, pregnant worker fairness, and the domestic worker bill of rights. The 2021 report card revealed the tremendous gaps in state care policies and a fragmented and insufficient system of care workers and families in most states.

This year’s update, co-authored with Caring Across Generations, takes another look at how states are doing.