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.

The Terrifying Global Reach of the American Anti-Abortion Movement

When performed properly, abortion is considered extremely safe. But nearly half—45 percent—of the 73 million abortions performed worldwide each year are unsafe.

One big reason: American anti-abortion policies.

For decades, the U.S. has used the power of the purse to force poorer nations to abide by the anti-abortion values of American conservatives or forgo aid for family planning and other healthcare—giving women around the globe no alternative but to seek backstreet abortions that send some to emergency rooms and others to their graves.

Compassion, Not Rejection, Will Do Something About the Border

For months now, the words “we must do something about the border” have been thrown about in the United States—as though the border were a leaky roof or broken window that could be quickly repaired and made new again. Listen closely, however, and it becomes apparent that many politicians mean something different altogether. To them, “doing something about the border” means preventing people from accessing border crossings and preventing them from obtaining asylum or other legal means of entry.

The impact on those real people easily gets lost in budget talks and political squabbling. Understanding who is coming to the border can help us make better decisions about what actually needs to be done to create a functioning migration system.

The Trauma of Being Denied Abortion

Abortion does not harm women’s mental health: Ninety-five percent of women who had an abortion say it was the right decision for them five years later, according to the Turnaway Study, groundbreaking research that documented the outcomes for women who received and were denied an abortion.

“Our failure as a society to acknowledge the sacrifice that pregnant people make when they have a baby is misogyny, ignorance and misogyny,” said Diana Greene Foster, the study’s lead researcher.

Rape as a Weapon of War: A Ms. Reading List

Feminists have long been sounding the alarm on the use of rape as a weapon of war—and firsthand accounts of what happened in Israel on Oct. 7 are spurring an urgent conversation once again, reminding us that the battle to secure justice for the victims of rape through war crimes prosecutions continues to this day. Below, we’ve curated some Ms. reporting from the last decade, to help readers better understand the feminist fight to designate rape as a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Eyes on Everywhere Else: Sudan, Pakistan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Eastern Congo

The world is not confined to Israel and Palestine, and it should be possible to give that conflict the attention and outrage it deserves—which is a lot—while not treating other people as trivial or disposable because they happen to live in places that are not as geopolitically relevant to U.S. interests, or are not as psychologically or biologically tied to as many Americans and Europeans, or are not as connected to the American and European telling of history.

It does not have to be this way. We do not have to turn our eyes away.

November 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

This November brings a brilliant selection of new book releases. From Native American Heritage Month to Trans Day of Remembrance, there are books for you to learn from, unwind with, and reflect upon. Which of these 24 titles will you be reading this month?  

Sophia Huang Xueqin Won Awards for Her #MeToo Reporting. Today, Her Fate Remains a Mystery.

Huang (Sophia) Xueqin’s reporting sparked a wave of #MeToo allegations against various high-ranking media personalities and professors in China. She described the censorship she faced as “severe.” The extreme backlash Huang faced for her reporting included an onslaught of threats, bullying on her personal pages, and intimidation from authorities—eventually leading to her arrest in September 2021.

As of this month, Huang has been jailed and almost entirely cut off from her friends, family and advocacy groups for over 750 days.

No More Child Brides

Kriti Bharti founded her nonprofit, Saarthi Trust, in 2011 to fight child marriage and empower women and girls. Since then, she has helped legally annul 49 child marriages and prevented 1,700 more from being “solemnized” in ceremonial engagements. She has aided in the rehabilitation of 20,500 children and women, and has conducted orientation programs that resulted in 35,000 villagers taking oaths to resist child marriages.

“One day,” she said, “we should be able to say, ‘Once upon a time, there was something called child marriage.’”

(This article originally appears in the Fall 2023 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get Ms. in print delivered straight to your mailbox!)