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.

Teach Students Asian American History and Advocacy: ‘Our Movements Are Stronger When We Stand Together’

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are creating a movement to implement accurate and culturally representative curricula in public schools. The majority of Ohioans want this education—and we see this desire echoed nationally: In Illinois, we saw the historic passage of the TEAACH Act in 2021. Similar legislation was passed in New Jersey and Connecticut in 2022, showing a need and desire for inclusive curricula across the country. These education bills encompass a wide array of identities and histories.

We understand that our histories and our futures are tied to one another. This is the core of the AAPI curriculum movement.

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!)

How the World Is Letting Girls Fall Behind

The world is letting girls fall behind at an alarming rate. This International Day of the Girl, the world must reassess its commitments to girls everywhere—for a flourishing world and, most importantly, for the individual health, rights and well-being of each girl, no matter what. 

Girls will reach their fullest potential when global governments comprehensively prioritize their education, safety, health and autonomy.

Why I Want to Build a Better Democracy

As a young girl in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran, I never expected to be fighting for democracy in the United States.

We are linguistic and ethnic strangers, yet we are family and are at home in the United States. And we are one among many here. That spirit of welcome is the spirit that should propel us toward the new democracy we want—and need. It’s what should animate us as we build a new democracy that we can all call home.

From the Frontlines in Iran: Our Fight for Human Rights and Gender Equality

Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer who has spent her career fighting for the rights of women and minorities in the Middle East. For her important work, Sotoudeh has been honored with copious awards and designations, including the U.S. State Department’s Global Human Rights Defender title and Ms. magazine’s Top Feminist award. Just this month, she is the sole recipient of both The Civil Courage Prize, which honors individuals who show courage against evil and oppression, and the Brown Democracy Medal from the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, marking the award’s 10th year.

“The monster of oppression has nested in one corner of the world,” wrote Sotoudeh in her new book, Women, Life, Freedom: Our Fight for Human Rights and Equality in Iran. “It dreams of taking over the world. We must overcome our fears, stand up to the beast, and look it in the eyes.”

New Hampshire Law Banning ‘Divisive Concepts’ in the Classroom Leaves Teachers Vulnerable and Students Unprepared

The new school year brings a fresh onslaught of conservative attacks on public education. As I prepare the syllabus for my “Teaching English for Middle and High School Teachers” course at the University of New Hampshire, a new court challenge to the HB 544 “Divisive Concepts” bill is underway. Passed in 2021, HB 544 prohibits the teaching of racism, sexism and any materials that claim “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

Intentionally vague rhetoric like “divisive concepts” masks the bill’s white supremacist logic. Students recognize how the bill co-opts language commonly used in calls for social justice to argue against diversity. It is the legislators that pass and the administrators that enforce these abhorrent bills that are most to blame.

How Congress Can Help Women and Girls in Conflict Zones

U.S. foreign policy prevents the protection of refugees, those in conflict zones, and those impacted by natural disasters. Yet the House Appropriations Committee has chosen to pass a budget that will defund the agencies and programs that are most prepared to expertly respond to the needs of girls and women on conflict zones.

It is far past time that Congress passes the Abortion is Healthcare Everywhere Act, which will repeal the Helms Amendment; and the Support UNFPA Funding Act, which would restore funding to UNFPA for the next five years. With the stroke of a pen, the Biden administration also has the power to issue guidance to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Helms Amendment interpretation, preventing a chilling effect and expanding the agency’s reach.

Two Years After the Taliban Takeover, an Afghan Girl Is Holding On to Hope: ‘I Am Young, But I Am Everything for My Family’

Last summer, almost one year after the Taliban takeover, I spoke to 17-year-old Farzana about her life in Kabul. Now, two years since the U.S. withdrew their troops, Farzana, 18, feels she has very little to live for.

“It has been two years and the future looks dark. It’s not being alive, and not being dead. We have permission for neither. … I had the hope to be a great athlete and leader in the world—a leader for Afghan women. These are still my hopes and my goals, and even in this hard situation, I am doing my best to get an opportunity to find a university outside of Afghanistan.”