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.

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.

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.

Keeping Score: E. Jean Carroll Wins Defamation Case; 64K Pregnancies from Rape in Abortion Ban States; U.S. Congress Members Urge SCOTUS to Protect Abortion Pill

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: E. Jean Carroll wins defamation case; over 64,000 pregnancies from rape in abortion ban states; Taylor Swift targeted by deepfake attack; House passes CTC expansion; states implement anti-trans laws; abortion rates have risen since 2020; Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed the first anti-LGBTQ bill of the year into law; more than three in five Americans support Congress passing a law guaranteeing the right to an abortion; and more.

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.

Some States Are Taking Childcare Funding Into Their Own Hands—But Congress Must Act

The largest investment in childcare in American history expired this September. As Congress continues to negotiate a budget deal, the need for $16 billion in emergency childcare funding—requested by President Biden and congressional Democrats—remains top of mind for parents, early educators, childcare owners and directors, and employers across the nation.

The Century Foundation’s new report shines a spotlight on the 11 states and Washington, D.C., that have taken action to directly address the childcare cliff with state funds.

Solutions to the Pay Gap for Native American Women Could Be Found in Their Tribes

November 30 marks Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day, spotlighting that those working full- or part-time are still earning only 55 cents for every $1 paid to non-Latino white men. Only Latinas have a wider gap. But 55 cents is, in many ways, an incomplete figure. 

There is much that is unknown about the nuances of the pay gap for Native American women. For years, the United States has failed to invest in data collection on Indigenous communities, making it difficult to reliably track wage gaps among the 574 federally recognized tribes.