"On the Issues" with Michele Goodwin is a product of Ms. magazine—where we report, rebel and tell it like it is. On this show, we center your concerns about rebuilding our nation and advancing the promise of equality. Join academic and activist Michele Goodwin in conversation with feminist politicians, thought leaders and change-makers as we tackle the most compelling issues of our times.
New episodes drop every other Tuesday.
From a frozen asylum system, huge camps on the Mexico border and family separation policies, to the worsening lack of healthcare and the aftereffects of COVID-19, Latinx communities are at a disadvantage both inside and outside U.S. borders. In this episode, we focus on events over the last few years greatly impacting Latinx communities: socially, economically and politically—as Trump administration immigration policies have resulted in child separation,huge camps on the Southern border, stalled immigration, and much more.
Meanwhile, those held in detention centers face an added layer of challenges—ranging from lost children, to an increased risk of COVID infections. Are detainees seeking self-deportation to avoid contracting COVID?
In this episode, in the midst of the centennial anniversary of women’s securing the right to vote, we focus on the 19th Amendment. The perpetual struggle for U.S. voting rights has been fraught with conflict, and the fight for women’s suffrage was no exception. Even after the 19th Amendment was passed, women of color were denied the opportunity to vote: Black women were kept from voting through insidious practices like poll taxes and long wait times (some which still exist today); Indigenous women, many of whom inspired the initial Euro-American push for women’s rights and suffrage, were not considered citizens; and Asian women could not naturalize for citizenship. In fact, until the mid-1950s, laws enacted by Congress—including the Page Act—made it very difficult for Asian women who immigrated to the U.S. to become citizens.
Because voting rights are central to our democracy, we devote this episode to the 19th Amendment, its history and the road ahead.
In this episode, we focus on why #WeHaveHerBack. You heard it recently in the wake of Sen. Kamala Harris’s selection as the vice presidential candidate for the Democratic ticket. #WeHaveHerBack is as a powerful challenge to newsrooms to avoid sexism in media representation. Tina Tchen, president and CEO of Time’s Up Now, joins host Dr. Michele Goodwin to talk the importance of having Harris’s back—and other women candidates’ backs, too.
Today’s episode also focuses on women’s political leadership, starting with the urgent need to repeal the Helms Amendment. Dr. Goodwin is joined by two pathbreaking members of Congress—Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Barbara Lee—to discuss why women’s leadership has been central to forging political representation, equality and fighting for reproductive health, rights and justice—at home and abroad. Their leadership helps to put in context why the #WeHaveHerBack campaign is so important, and why women’s leadership matters.
Since 1790, of the 113 individuals who have served on the Supreme Court, only four have been women. Similarly, in over 230 years, only three justices have been persons of color—two of whom presently serve on the Court. Under Trump, the vast majority of judges confirmed to the nation’s federal courts are white men. Thus, in over two hundred years, very little has changed in terms of the Court’s composition.
On this special episode, we focus on toxic masculinity in the U.S., including online misogyny, and how it translates into real-world violence—highlighted most recently in the horrific murder of Daniel Anderl, the son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas, and the shooting of her husband Mark Anderl. The person assumed responsible for those tragedies is Roy Den Hollander, a self-proclaimed “men’s rights” activist—part of a growing movement of men who describe themselves as frustrated by women. Some members of this movement are also known as “incels.”
We also turn to the everyday harassment women experience—even in Congress, like in the case of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who was accosted by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). Representative Yoho called her “disgusting,” “a “f***ing bitch,” and at first denied it. Rep. Yoho claimed his “passion” got the better of him and offered what many would describe as a rambling floor speech in which his daughters and wife were centered. However, he did not apologize. For some women, this looked like typical workplace misogyny they endure all the time.
What lessons can be drawn from these incidents and others? Has toxic masculinity gone too far?
In June Medical v. Russo, the Supreme Court struck down a challenge to abortion rights in Louisiana, a state in which reproductive health care access is already fraught. The law would have required all doctors performing abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Even though this case has put such challenges to rest, lawmakers in Louisiana have effectively undercut women’s access to reproductive healthcare, causing clinic closures and more. As our guests make clear, Roe is not enough.
However, it’s not just abortion rights or pregnancy at stake, with regard to women’s health. Reproductive justice matters, and bringing that lens into these conversations is urgent. The rise in criminalization of pregnant women for failing to comport to the state’s standards for behavior during pregnancy is alarming. Women have been threatened with arrest for refusing C-sections, falling down steps and attempting suicide during pregnancy. Where does this end? What should we be concerned about? What’s the future of Americans being able to exercise control their own reproductive futures, given the aggressive attacks at the state and federal levels? We close considering how organizations, doctors, lawyers and activists are fighting back.
On today’s show, we focus on rebuilding America from the ground up. What will it take? What issues should we be concerned about, which are not making the news? For example, despite what appear to be recent triumphs at the Supreme Court with regard to LGBTQ equality, reproductive rights and DACA, many argue those victories are thin and fragile. Beyond that, as we know, underlying challenges persist, including pay inequality between men and women; Americans living beneath the poverty line without a living wage; lack of access to affordable health care; and a warming planet. Most painfully, our democracy is at stake—clearly evidenced by voter suppression.
On today’s inaugural show, we focus on policing in America, examining race, sex and violence. We specifically take up women and policing, elevating the stories and experiences of women—a perspective often absent from mainstream conversation. Even in recent weeks, as the nation has erupted in protests related to the tragic murder of George Floyd, some might argue that the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician in Louisville, Ky., was an afterthought, even though her death too was no less inhumane, violent and preventable.