What Angela Alsobrooks’ Primary Win Means for Black Women in Politics

We currently have zero Black women governors and only one Black woman in the Senate. But that could soon change.

This week, exciting news came out of Maryland’s Democratic primary race: U.S. Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks won big despite being outspent 10 to 1 by her opponent, Rep. David Trone, a wealthy businessman who threw more than $60 million of his own money into his campaign. Alsobrooks is the county executive for Maryland’s second-largest county, and this win means she, along with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, could become the United States’ fourth and fifth Black women to ever serve in the U.S. Senate.

Women’s Rights Are Essential to Democracy. Why Do Philanthropists Treat Investments in Women as a Special Interest?

In the last two months, the Supreme Court heard two case to limit nationwide access to abortion care. The chaotic state of play for abortion rights in the United States illustrates the consequences of failing to integrate efforts to strengthen democracy into strategies for advancing gender equity and vice versa.

For philanthropic leaders, the twin goals of strengthening democracy and advancing gender equity presents a compelling case for simultaneous investment. Divorcing gender justice from democracy is inconsistent ideologically, and it’s also irrational and unnecessarily expensive. To separate them is to delay success and pay for it many times over. 

In ‘Girls State,’ Care and the Growing Gendered Political Divide

A new documentary, Girls State, shows how some of America’s most ambitious and politically minded young women respond to the gender inequalities they face at Girls State, a government leadership camp in Missouri.

The documentary shows us that institutions can no longer stymy these young women’s ambitions for more influence by telling them to first look inward. The girls see through superficial slogans for unity and defensive headlines. They’re ready for real changes. 

The Arizona Abortion Fight Is a Reminder That Progress Is Not Linear

April’s U.S. political news admittedly brought many horrors—from Alabama legislators advancing a bill to define sex based on “reproductive systems,” not gender identity; to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing an Idaho ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect; to the Arizona Supreme Court upholding an abortion ban from 1864, which opens the door to criminalizing health providers with up to five years of prison time if they provide abortion services. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called the ruling “a huge step backwards.”

Legal changes in the present may appear to be reversing earlier advancements, as Romero said. But advocates of equity need a better grasp of history so they are realistic about the intermittent successes of movements for social change. The fight for full gender equality is a long game.

Which Political Party Is Budgeting for Women’s Futures?

For too many—especially women of color—paychecks aren’t keeping up. Inflation is inching downward, but costs for groceries, childcare and rent feel out of reach.

But congressional fights over taxes and spending are really about fundamental questions: What do women, our families and communities need? What kind of future do we want to build? Recent budget proposals by the Biden administration and Republicans in Congress show how our two major political parties answer those questions. The answers were starkly different, revealing high stakes when it comes to women’s ability to participate in the economy, care for their families and control their own reproductive lives. 

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.

War on Women Report: Unprovoked Attacks Against Women in New York City; Texas Medical Board Refuses to Clarify State Abortion Ban

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: The Protect Victims of Digital Exploitation and Manipulation Act aims to ban the production and distribution of non-consensual, deepfake pornography; an award created to honor the life and accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being awarded to four right-wing men (and Martha Stewart); the Texas Medical Board refused to further specify the rules around the state’s highly restrictive ban on abortion; police made their first arrest in connection to an onslaught of unprovoked attacks against women in New York City; and more.

Keeping Score: Kamala Harris Is First VP to Visit Abortion Provider; Fani Willis Can Pursue Racketeering Case Against Trump; Birth Control Access Is Key Election Issue

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: Alabama ruling endangers IVF; childcare costs are a significant barrier to parents having more children; Beyoncé and Olivia Rodrigo launch new charities; more than 9,000 women have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza; Biden addresses abortion access in the SOTU; new research on gender discrimination in the workplace; Kamala Harris’ visit to Minnesota abortion clinic is the first time a sitting U.S. president or vice president has visited an abortion provider; a judge ruled Fani Willis should not be disqualified from prosecuting the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump; and more.

Charting the Future of Equal Pay

Today, women workers make 78 cents when compared to men, and 66 cents for Black women, 52 cents for Latinas and 55 cents for Native women. The earnings gap is even larger when the value of benefits, including health and life insurance and performance bonuses, is included in the equation.

Disclosure of pay data by gender and race to the EEOC may pave the way for transparency to the public at large—and much-needed action to close gender and racial pay gaps once and for all. It’s been 60 years. Isn’t that long enough?

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

Subminimum Wage Is a Legacy of Slavery: Time for One Fair Wage

While some states have eliminated the subminimum wage, or raised it above the paltry federal rate, the vast majority of states still allow employers to pay servers less than minimum wage. Restaurant servers in the U.S. are about 70 percent female and disproportionately women of color. Young people, disabled workers and incarcerated people in many states also receive subminimum wages.

The system of subminimum wages and tipping is a legacy of slavery. After the Civil War, white business owners replaced wages with tipping because they did not want to pay their Black employees. Today, the subminimum wage harms women of color, in particular, who face biases from customers, which shows up in lower tips.