The Future of Pay Equity, 15 Years After Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Fifteen years ago, we stood at the White House while then-President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law restored the rights of employees to have their day in court for ongoing wage discrimination taken away by the Supreme Court in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear case.

This bill was such an important victory for workers and gave employees who were experiencing ongoing pay discrimination their day in court.  However, the law did not give women new tools to combat the wage gap itself. Still, with all working women earning on average 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—and the pay gaps even wider for women of color—it reminds us our work is still far from finished. We will not rest until we can enact more policies that give workers stronger tools to challenge pay disparities and other forms of employment discrimination.

Far-Right Players Behind Latest Attacks on Abortion in Emergencies

In April, the nation’s highest Court will hear a pair of cases that will determine whether the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) preempts state laws that impede emergency abortions needed to protect the health of pregnant people even if they are not on the brink of death. 

Both of these cases have ties to the main anti-abortion zealots that helped overturn Roe: Leonard Leo and Alliance Defending Freedom. 

You Are ‘Killing my Generation’: A Gun Violence Survivor Takes On the Industry

This week is National Gun Violence Survivors Week, a time when we come together to honor and uplift survivors of gun violence. The gun industry must be held accountable for the nation of gun violence survivors they have created.

That’s why I, along with my fellow Students Demand Action volunteers across the country, are demanding that gun manufacturers take sensible steps to stop producing AR-15s and similar assault weapons with high-capacity magazines, prioritize safety over lethality in their products, and avoid partnering with untrustworthy dealers. We’re also calling on our colleges and universities to divest from the gun industry.

When 15 States Opt Out of a Summer Food Program, Community Organizations Must Fill in the Gaps

We were extremely disappointed by the decision of Mississippi and 14 other states last week to opt-out of a new summer EBT program that would have provided each eligible family with $40 per month per child during the summer to help cover the additional costs of food. For a mother working full-time at minimum wage (approximately $1,160 each month), that $40 could make a huge difference.

Once again, we are reminded that poverty, and all its consequences, are the result of policy choices. But when policy choices put an undue burden on our families, we know that it is our time to step into the gap.

Giving Parents More Cash Is a Start—But It Can’t Be the End

The big news out this week: The expanded child tax credit could be reinstated for three years as part of a bipartisan tax package. This would be a huge deal for families across the country who have been struggling with dwindling supports from the government as pandemic-era boosts expire. 

While this latest deal lacks heft—in that it maxes out at a little more than half of the 2021 expanded CTC that was our nation’s greatest tool ever in fighting poverty—it is still significant for putting us back on the path toward radical transformation.

Single Moms Receiving Guaranteed Income: ‘It’s a Relief to Know I Have That Extra Income Coming In’

Back for its third year, Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“I work from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon everyday, and anytime there is something I can do to earn a little extra … I do it. … I receive $92 a month in SNAP benefits (food stamps), which is not nearly enough to cover my grocery bill for the month. And that’s why I’m so grateful for MMT—I can go spend cash on some groceries, and my baby and I are still good. Cash is more helpful than SNAP because I can buy groceries with cash, but I can’t pay bills with SNAP.”

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: France’s Second-Ever Woman PM Resigns; Threats to Nutrition Program for Low-Income Women and Children

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

This week:the potential risk to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); France’s prime minister Élisabeth Borne resigns after less than two years in office; St. Paul, Minn., elects an historic all-women city council using ranked-choice voting; and more.

The Next Battlefront in the War Against Women: Fighting for Congress to Fully Fund WIC

Leaders in Congress agreed on a topline figure to fund the government for the next fiscal year. But it is certainly no cause for celebration. The long-overdue agreement will continue most of last year’s levels, while providing enormous boosts for the Pentagon. With rising costs, last year’s funding levels are not enough for federal safety net programs to meet the needs of struggling Americans. Simply put, more people need more help and they will not get it. This is particularly true among single mothers—40 percent of whom needlessly struggle with food insecurity.

It’s all part of Republicans’ plan to both restrict abortion access and cut nutrition assistance from low-income mothers, infants and young children—creating a new wave of the feminization of poverty.

2023 ‘Best of the Rest’: Our Favorite Books of the Year!

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. And each year, we review our monthly Reads for the Rest of Us lists and choose our favorite books of the entire year. 

You’ve read the other “Best of” lists—now read the other one. You know, for the rest of us. So here they are, our book critic’s top 38, in alphabetical order. 

Female Athletes Sue University of Oregon for ‘Hurtful, Outrageous Sex Discrimination’

Thirty-two current and former female student athletes at the University of Oregon filed a Title IX class-action lawsuit, alleging sex discrimination in athletic participation opportunities, financial aid, benefits and publicity.

“Title IX has been the law for more than 50 years. Oregon needs to comply with it, now,” said Arthur Bryant of the law firm Bailey & Glasser, which represents the plaintiffs. “The history of Title IX has shown: If women want equality, they need to fight for it. So that’s what the women at Oregon are doing.”