Podcast

Latest Episodes

33. Messages to Mom: We Have Your Back (with Rep. Katie Porter, Nicole Lynn Lewis, Dr. Aisha Nyandoro and Tamara Ware)

“Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women.” 
—Professor Jessica Calarco

In this episode, we’re focusing on moms, child care, single parenting and teen parenting. We know that women have been hit hard by COVID—causing many to dub the economic downturn a “she-cession.” And as it stands, current U.S. laws and policies are woefully inadequate—leaving mothers, particularly mothers living with low incomes, behind. Luckily, women-led organizations are helping moms by filling in the gaps.

How are moms making it through the pandemic? And, how do single moms fit in, especially teenage moms? What should parents generally, and mothers in particular, be demanding of lawmakers and the Biden administration? What are the best ways for the U.S. to ‘build back better’ after pandemic?
We also hear from some of our listeners who are giving shoutouts to the mothers–and stand-in moms—in their lives!

32. Climate Change Is Real. Now What? (with Osprey Orielle Lake and Nourbese Flint)

On March 31, the Biden administration released the American Jobs Plan, which establishes broad goals for achieving a cleaner and more equitable future, including significant investments in green jobs like caregiving and clean energy infrastructure. On April 22—Earth Day—Biden further raised the stakes, committing the U.S. to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Even still, there are legislators at local, state and federal levels that continue to deny climate change as real.

Meanwhile, in Flint, Michigan, after a five-year water crisis, reports say the water is now clean—but many locals still refuse to drink it to this day, due to a loss of trust.

How do global warming and other environmental concerns affect the lives of listeners in coastal areas, or those who live near waste sites, or in areas where environmental concerns are hidden? What does environmental and climate justice look like?

Now that the U.S. has reentered the Paris Climate Agreement, what next steps must be taken to address climate change and environmental injustice here at home? What can we expect from the Biden-Harris administration?

31. Who Killed George Floyd? (with Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman, Tasha Green Cruzat, T. Mychael Rambo, Roderick Ferguson, Pamela Alexander and Dr. George Woods)

In this episode, we confront the question at the center of Derek Chauvin’s trial: Who killed George Floyd? Our guests unpack that question as an issue central to police and societal violence. Examining who killed George Floyd means taking stock of legacies of racism in the Twin Cities, including redlining, school segregation, policies that undermine equality, and disparate rates of policing and mass incarceration.

As attention has turned to the horrors of the old South, has racism of the new North been overlooked? And at what cost to Black lives? Have liberal allies made a difference or exacerbated harms in the Twin Cities?

We also explore the trauma associated with George Floyd’s death and other officer-involved killings. Experts on our show explain how racism produce physical and psychological health harms.

30. The Whiteness of Taxation: Wealth, Race and D.C. Statehood (with Dorothy Brown, Maura Quint and Demi Stratmon)

It’s tax season! It’s time to talk race, taxation and D.C. statehood. The U.S. tax system raises serious questions about equity and inclusion and—according to our guests—taxation is at the root of many social and economic injustices.

So, who does the U.S. tax code benefit? Who does it leave behind? How does racism manifest in the U.S. tax system? What role does D.C. statehood play in all of this? What roles can we expect the Biden administration to play in the fight for D.C. statehood and the larger fight for racial and economic justice?

29. Who’s Telling Our Stories? CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Women and Media


Brooke Baldwin is a renowned CNN anchor and author of a new book, HUDDLE: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power, out this month. Huddle examines the phenomenon of “huddling,” or what happens when women lean on one another—in the arts, activism, politics, Hollywood and everyday friendships—to lift up each other and to provide empowerment, support, inspiration and the creativity and courage to enact change and solve problems.

28. How Do We Dismantle a Culture of Sexual Violence? (with Terrion Williamson and Carmen Balentine)

Gender-based and sexual violence are pervasive symptoms of a larger violence issue in this country. This reality is exemplified by recent reports that some insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6 have histories of violence against women, including domestic violence and sexual assault. Of course, we also remain in mourning for the lives lost to gun violence in America—most recently the horrific killings of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta, and 10 people at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.

What do these events convey about the U.S. and our culture of sexual violence? What connections can we make from gender-based violence and sexual violence to a broader culture of violence in the U.S.? How does gender-based violence intersect with race and racism? What can we do to begin to disrupt this culture?

27. From Filibuster to Representation: Is the Senate Broken? (with Rick Hasen, Barbara Arnwine and Cynthia Richie Terrell)

The 2020 election revealed the deep fractures in U.S. democracy and its electoral system. Many were already there, but this past election truly pushed our voting system to its limits.

“Many of the familiar procedures for translating the people’s will into the choice of a president depend on norms of behavior, not laws,” guest Rick Hasen put it—evident from the significant efforts undertaken to undermine and interfere with the results of the election.

Part of this dysfunction played out in the Senate, where the institution itself protects arcane rules and undemocratic processes. Is the Senate truly representative? Is the electoral system fair? Is it time to eliminate the electoral college? What other electoral reforms should we be considering? What does contemporary voter suppression look like?

One of the important Senate rules at issue today is the filibuster, which has been weaponized at various times to defeat important legislation. What purpose does the filibuster serve? Is it a barrier to real progress?

26. Why Women’s Rights are Human Rights (with UN Women Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka)

“Women’s rights are human rights,” proclaimed then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in September 1995 at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. This groundbreaking speech marked a turning point for feminism and international efforts toward gender equality, articulating women’s rights as a basic fundamental concept of civil rights, human rights and dignity. During the conference, 189 countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action for women’s equality.

In this show we consider the impact of the U.N. agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Where has there been progress?  What are the setbacks? What comes next in the global agenda on women’s rights?

25. International Women’s Day and a Feminist Foreign Policy (with Karen Greenberg, Gayle Lemmon, Pardis Mahdavi and Lyric Thompson)

As women continue to be hit by job loss, increased home responsibilities, family caretaking, unaccounted for invisible labor, homelessness and domestic violence, it’s clear the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed underlying institutional and infrastructural inequalities in our society.

It’s time to check in on and reimagine the international status of women and girls. What would a feminist foreign policy agenda look like in the United States? How does it look globally? How does it take into account vulnerable women and girls? What hope exists for ending inequality based on race, sex and gender? What differences do women and girls make as social, political and economic motivators for change?

[BONUS] 24. Rest in Power: Sue Ellen Allen, Advocate to the End

In this episode, we remember our friend and advocate for women in prison, Sue Ellen Allen, who died this week on February 24, 2021.  In the latter part of her life, she became an internationally renowned advocate for incarcerated women and girls.  She championed banning the box, promoting reentry, and protecting the integrity and dignity of people tethered to the criminal justice system. She was a reformer.  She spoke with tremendous grace and power about being formerly incarcerated.

Take a listen as we revisit Sue Ellen Allen’s final interview—a wide-ranging and intimate conversation with her long-time friend, Michele Goodwin.

Rest in power, Sue Ellen.

23. Why Does the Death Penalty Still Exist in the U.S.? (with Stephen Rohde)

On January 16, 2021, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dustin Higgs became the 13th and final person executed by the Trump administration—just days before Inauguration Day for President Joe Biden, the first sitting president to openly oppose the death penalty.

President Trump’s spate of executions began six months before Biden’s inauguration, with six executions occurring in the period after he lost the election. Overall, the former president oversaw “the most consecutive civilian executions by the federal government or any state in the 244-year history of the United States” and “ended a 17-year bipartisan federal moratorium” on executions, according to this week’s guest Stephen Rohde.
 
What purpose does the death penalty serve? How have race and racism marked the implementation of the death penalty? Is there ever a humane way to kill another person? With public support for the death penalty waning in the U.S. and across the world, how can the U.S. continue to justify it, both federally and in individual states?

22. Mass Incarceration: Don’t Forget About the Women (with Piper Kerman, Kamilah Newton and Sue Ellen Allen)

Women make up the fastest growing incarcerated population in the U.S—yet, politicians and the media frequently frame incarceration as an issue that affects only boys and men.  Why is so little attention paid to women and mass incarceration?  What does the failure to include women in the analysis on mass incarceration mean for communities, families and the women themselves? What are the unique challenges women and girls face behind bars and after they are released?

21. Taking Politics Out of Women’s Health: Biden’s First 100 Days (with Carrie Baker, Joia Crear-Perry, Leah Litman and Julia Kaye)

Friday, January 22 marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision affirming a constitutional right to abortion. Yet, decades later, reproductive health care access remains illusory for many women and people of birthing capacity.  
 
Is the constitutional right to abortion a reality today? If so, for whom? How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted women’s health and exacerbated existing disparities? What can we expect from the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration? What is the status of reproductive health, rights and justice—48 years after Roe?

20. Meet the New Feminists in Congress (with Jennifer Steinhauer + Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux, Teresa Leger Fernandez and Marie Newman)

On today’s show, we planned to introduce listeners to the new feminists in Congress—and we do.  But, in the period since our team at Ms. curated the design and content of this episode, another shoe has dropped in American politics: the insurrection.

We examine what the Jan. 6 riot and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol signify for our nation, including what we can learn from it. Why did it happen? Will the president be impeached?  And what does this atmosphere mean for the new feminists in Congress?

19. Year in Review: Looking Ahead to 2021 and Beyond (with Russ Feingold, Deirdre Fishel, Stephen Vladeck and Andrea Young)

This year has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, a reckoning on racism and policing in America, the 2020 election, and the ongoing fight for justice.   
 
What does the 2020 election and the Biden/Harris win mean for our democracy? How important is the outcome of the Georgia runoff for the incoming administration? Where are we on immigration? How are we to undo the damage to our federal courts and address the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court? How do we reckon with the racial unrest that exists in our country—especially when it comes to police violence? What hope lies ahead in the realm of reproductive health, rights and justice?