Private Equity Firms Profit Off the Backs of Working Women and Families

If you’ve ever wondered whatever happened to iconic U.S. businesses like Sears and Friendly’s Ice Cream, Samsonite Luggage and Zales’ Jewelry, or even Toys-R-Us, you’ll find distressing answers in Brendan Ballou’s Plunder: Private Equity’s Plan to Pillage America and Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner’s These are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs—and Wrecks—America. Both books describe private equity firms’ largely secret and little understood 40-year-long hit-and-run scam.

If you’re worried about the deteriorating appearance of downtown areas, hospitals or the housing market, if you’ve noticed a growing shabbiness, or if you’ve notice the government’s indifference, these books will help explain not only what’s wrong, but what we ordinary people can and must do to stop the steal—the real steal.

Abortion Funders in the Southeast Are ‘Helping People Decide What They Want to Do With Their Lives’

Abortion funds are local nonprofits that pay for someone’s abortion, plus extra costs, like transportation or lodging. Their role in the abortion access movement has increased since the fall of Roe. Ms. will feature interviews weeks with fund representatives across the U.S. Each installment will focus on a distinct region—beginning in the Southeast, where every single state in the region has implemented abortion restrictions.

“No human being should ever feel like, ‘Well, I’ve got to figure out what I want to do with this pregnancy by midnight tonight, or else.'” “I enter the work in rage. I am doing abortion access work in sheer rage and spite.”

Fighting Fatphobia and Embracing ‘Unshrinking’: The Ms. Q&A With Kate Manne

We live in a society obsessed with fatness. Or, perhaps more accurately, obsessed with fighting it.  Fatness has been rendered a disease, and we are inundated with “cures,” which particularly haunt women’s bodies—and their wallets.

Questioning the devotion to anti-fatness usually prompts a “well, being fat is unhealthy!” But according to Kate Manne, feminist philosopher and author of the recently released Unshrinking: How to Face Fatphobia, the connection between weight and health is not so clear cut. What is clear, Manne brilliantly reveals, is that fatphobia, not fatness, is the problem.

The U.S. Can Create True Wealth by Giving Cash to Parents Who Need It

In 2018, we launched the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, the United States’ first modern-day guaranteed income program and the first in the world to focus solely on low-income Black mothers. 

Our goal is simple: Provide the financial capital necessary for these mothers to dream a little bigger and breathe a little easier. We can give everyone that kind of wealth. And yes, I will play on the word here—we can guarantee it. If we are willing to understand, a little financial investment can change someone’s life, and allow them the flexibility, heart, and mind to build and define true wealth—equity, delight, honor and love. 

From ‘Fast Cars’ to Self-Gifted ‘Flowers’: What Pop Music Reveals about the Status of Women

The narrator of “Fast Car,” who finally finds the strength at song’s end to tell her no-count trifling lover to “take your fast car and keep on driving,” is an earlier version of Sza’s narrator on the heartbreak and revenge-fantasy songs that comprise her Grammy-nominated album SOS—a worthy project that many had hoped would break the 25-year-drought of a Black woman winning the Album of the Year Grammy, since Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Still, we have come a long way from passively waiting for someone else’s “fast car” to move us out of poverty—and failing to doing so—while the latest songs imagine us killing our exes or shimmering like diamonds once we move on. We have arrived at that moment in which we are more than eager to celebrate the women who can drive in their own fast cars—accrued debts and generational poverty be damned.

Front and Center: Single Mothers ‘Are Having to Work Two or Three Jobs and Beg for Help Just to Make It’

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.

“It feels like the people in power are boosting the cost of everything and it’s making it harder for us to survive, especially when there’s so little help out there. A lot of my family and friends are having to work two or three jobs and beg for help just to make it.”

Women’s Sports Are an Economic Force

Female athletes are making an impact on the court and, with the right opportunities, can make a significant economic impact off the court too. 

Sports fans of all ages are on to something big. The media can no longer bury the lead. Women excel in sports. Now companies and their brands need to see the writing—and the opportunities—on the sports page.

Why We Need to Let Parents Use Campaign Funds for Childcare

During my recent reelection campaign, I utilized my political campaign funds to pay for childcare for my toddler, Kayden. California—alongside Colorado, New Hampshire, New York and Utah—passed bills in 2019 to allow campaign funds to be used for campaign-related childcare expenses. As a beneficiary of this legislation, I know firsthand the positive impact these laws have on working moms running for office.

Now, more states are trying to ensure that their political candidates are able to use campaign funds for childcare.

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.