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. 

Women Who Dissent: Remembering Lilly Ledbetter, Mary Edwards Walker and Anjali Forber-Pratt

Throughout Women’s History Month, discover untold stories of incredible women. This week: Lilly Ledbetter, namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, one of the first female doctors in America and the only woman to win the Medal of Honor; and Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt, a professional wheelchair racer and Paralympian medalist.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Women and the Iowa Caucus; Southern Legislatures Still Dominated by Men

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

This week: Republican women are vastly underrepresented in comparison to their Democratic counterparts; nearly half of U.S. states have implemented abortion bans or restrictions; the struggles Indonesian women face when they aspire to have political careers; Mar Galcerán becomes the first woman with Down syndrome to be elected to Spain’s parliamentsand more.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Sexual Harassment Is Pervasive in State Politics; Remembering Sandra Day O’Connor

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

This week: Although Latinas represent 20 percent of California’s population, their representation in elected office lags far behind that; sexual harassment by sitting state lawmakers over the last decade is pervasive and ongoing; the urgent need for creating space for disabled leaders within the political sphere; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and more.

The Last Salem Witch Has Been Exonerated

More than 300 years after the Salem witch trials, a class of middle schoolers helped exonerate the sole remaining woman legally classified as a witch.

Originally expected to be a simple class project, the path to clearing Elizabeth Johnson Jr.’s name took three years and the help of a Massachusetts state senator, Diana DiZoglio (D). Unwed women were viewed with suspicion at the time of the trials, and many individuals convicted were later exonerated by their own descendants. With no descendants to clear her name, Johnson’s wrongful conviction remained in place—making her the last remaining witch in Salem history—until Carrie LaPierre’s class came to her aid. 

Filmmakers Annika Hylmö and Dawn Green tell this story in their upcoming documentary, The Last Witch.

Single Moms Need Financial Support: ‘The Money We Receive Isn’t Enough to Cover Everything’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT), which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

Catrina first shared her story with Ms. in 2022. Since she stopped receiving funds through the Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, she’s now on disability for ongoing health issues, but hopes to one day return to the job she loves caring for the elderly.

“The government thinks that the money we receive through disability is enough to cover everything, but it honestly isn’t. … I’m number one for believing that able-bodied people need to work. When I was a full able-bodied person, even though I had health issues, I still got up six to seven days a week and worked anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day. I worked my butt off. But right now, I’m not able to work.”