The Tradwife’s Catch-22

How is it that an independent business executive goes from a full-time position in the C-suite to a full-time position in the kitchen, out of submissive devotion to her husband? If you’ve recently spent time on TikTok or Instagram, you may have wrestled with this question.

Tradwife influencers are right to point out the emptiness, precarity and dissatisfaction of neoliberal life, and the appeal of the alternative they offer is clear. But much of the rosy picture they paint exists only on our iPhones and not in reality. Domestic labor is neither slow nor peaceful.

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.

From The Vault: Joan Little and The Dialectics of Rape (June 1975)

“A little more than 100 years ago … rape served not only to further [the Black woman’s] oppression but also as a means of terrorizing the entire Black community. It placed brutal emphasis on the fact that Black slaves were indeed the property of the white master. … The social incentive given to rape is woven into the logic of the institutions of this society. It is an extremely efficient means of keeping women in a state of fear of rape, or of the possibility of it.”

( For more ground-breaking stories like this, order 50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION (Alfred A. Knopf)—a collection of the most audacious, norm-breaking coverage Ms. has published.)

Keeping Score: Voting Rights Act Weakened; Fighting Back Against Abortion Bans; Remembering Rosalynn Carter

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: Federal judge weakens the Voting Rights Act; Congress fails to fully fund WIC; Attorney General Merrick Garland defends women traveling to receive abortion care; Jill Biden launches an Initiative of Women’s Health Research; American women are living six years longer than men.

Aren’t We Workers, Too?

Our work as street vendors seems invisible—and up to 2 billion workers worldwide are not recognized as workers and do not have labor rights. We are the workers of the informal economy: the street and market vendors, the hawkers, the mobile traders and the domestic- and home-based workers, many of whom are women sustaining households by themselves.

Whether in the rain or scorching heat, we sell affordable products to workers bustling to and from their jobs in urban centers, because we cannot afford not to work.

Why Marie Kondo Failed to Spark Permanent Joy

Domestic work in America has been a long-time battleground between the sexes. Further complicating the issue is that women and women of color make up a majority of domestic workers: 90.2 percent are women and 51.3 percent are Black, Hispanic, or Asian American and Pacific Islander. There is no honest and accurate way to talk about housework and childcare without also discussing the negative effects on women.

One day, perhaps the world will act as though domestic work is a collective responsibility and effort that requires no self-help books, a product line or a Netflix series.

Millions of Women Would Benefit From a Minimum Wage Hike—Far More than Men

The parade of Equal Pay Days kicked off recently. The dates mark wage gaps for all women, Black women, Latina women—each one more disheartening than the last. According to the latest data, in most states, over 50 percent of women of color earn earn less than $15, and in some states, it soars to 70 percent. 

The solution to closing these gender and racial wage gaps is simple: Raise the federal minimum wage. So why is the Senate blocking the Raise the Wage Act, a piece of legislation that would have a transformative impact on wages and well-being of people in this country? 

Care Workers Are Essential. It’s Time to Build a Caring Economy.

When crises strike, we turn to our friends, families and sometimes even complete strangers to provide an extra set of caring and supporting hands. Care workers have always played an essential role in our communities, from assisting with child care to providing professional support to the elderly.

Our government has a once in a generation opportunity to pass policies that would support fair pay and dignified work conditions for caregivers, investing in the essential caregiving economy.

Don’t Fence Me In: Reproductive Freedom and Women Workers

For centuries under common law, a daughter or a wife was the property of the family father or husband or, upon his death, the closest relative with a penis. Whatever was theirs was his, but most importantly the family patriarch oversaw her most valuable asset: her womb. In earliest medical thought, a womb was fertile ground in need of guarding and fences to make property rights clearer, and she to be plowed and planted with seed, quite literally semen.

We thought such laws and cultural metaphors were behind us. But now the cowboys of Texas have put a bounty on women’s wombs. The stakes are women’s civil rights as citizens, surely, but also financial ones.