Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Ranked-Choice Voting Will Open Doors for More Women and Minorities; Women Leaders Convene in Tanzania

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

This week, read about Arlington’s preparations for RCV in the upcoming November elections; celebrate Shirley Chisholm, who continues to receive high recognition as a new stage play prepares for its debut; explore the impact of the increase in women mayors in Turkey; learn about women leaders advocating for women’s leadership in politics and global health; and uncover why the U.N. is concerned about Georgia’s removal of electoral gender quotas.

A rejuvenating family vacation only strengthened my resolve. With the Fair Representation Act and ranked-choice voting gaining traction, I am optimistic about achieving gender balance in government in my lifetime.

Can Beyoncé’s Foray into Country Music Change the Genre’s Conservative Views?

Beyoncé’s much-anticipated country album, Cowboy Carter, drops on Friday, March 29. Beyoncé’s immense success in country music is a clear signal that there is a huge audience for country music around the world, but that audience won’t settle for the music’s often conservative conventions. Black music and musicians are at the heart of country music, and recognition of Black women’s music on this scale is long overdue.

Beyoncé doesn’t need country music. But, if it’s going get the global traction the CMA and other parts of the industry desire, country music needs artists like Beyoncé.

As U.S. Faces a Rising Tide of Abortion Bans and Restrictions, France Enshrines Freedom of Access in the Constitution

In 2023, seeking “to avoid a U.S.-like scenario for women in France, as hard-right groups are gaining ground,” President Emmanuel Macron promised a constitutional amendment affirming women’s right to abortion and to control over their own bodies. The amendment subsequently passed by a crushing majority of 780 to 72 votes and was inserted ceremoniously into the French Constitution on March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day.

Meanwhile in 2022, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade that held abortion as a protected right under the United States Constitution

How do we explain the radically different trajectories on this critical dimension of women’s rights between two countries with strong feminist and anti-abortion movements that decriminalized abortion within a few years of one another?  

Supreme Court Is Considering Nationwide Restrictions on Most Common Abortion Method: Medication Abortion

Not content with overturning Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion movement now wants to restrict medication abortion—even in states where abortion remains legal.

But a decision to place more restrictions on medication abortion will not stop people from getting abortion pills—it will merely reshape, not extinguish, the landscape of access to abortion pills.

The Ms. Q&A With Mary Robinson, Ireland’s First-Ever Woman President

When Mary Robinson made history as Ireland’s first woman president, she declared, “I was elected by the women of Ireland, who, instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.” This quote encapsulates a woman who was set on disrupting the system to pursue fair representation.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, RepresentWomen had the esteemed privilege of interviewing Mary Robinson for Ms. In this interview, we explore the depths of her humanitarian work, her political journey, and the heartwarming tradition she initiated with her grandchildren, who hold a special place in her heart. 

If It Can Happen to Taylor Swift, It Can Happen to Any of Us

A few days ago, TIME’s Person of the Year was the victim of a deepfake pornographic attack.

Swift likely experienced the same nauseating feeling that many other women did when she saw her face plastered on nude bodies and virtually defiled by the public. And Swift’s lawyers will struggle to find satisfactory legal recourse. Taylor Swift was the victim of our lawless internet, where platforms can entirely evade a duty of care to their users. So were countless women before her.

‘Deliver Us From Evil’: Rape, Reproductive Coercion and the Catholic Church

Catholic priests and bishops perpetrate and tolerate astounding levels of sexual violence, and then deny their victims the right to prevent or end life-threatening pregnancies.

The all-male Catholic leadership’s long history of perpetuating sexual assault and reproductive coercion grows out of a toxic masculinity that devalues women’s lives, rights and dignity. Both are forms of intimate assault that deny the bodily autonomy of women in particular.

Given the Catholic Church’s history of clergy sexual abuse, and their callous disregard for the reproductive health and safety of women, why are priests and bishops considered to have any moral authority on issues of sexuality?

Not One Woman on the List

Earlier this month, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev announced the organizing committee for COP29, which will be held there in November. The list included 28 appointees, including Azeri government ministers of energy, health, finance and economy, among others. What the list did not include: women. Not one woman on the list.

The backlash was swift and thunderous. Global women leaders are speaking out: “Many of the key successes of the COP process, including the Paris Agreement, were delivered by women leaders, working closely with their male colleagues.”

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Women and the Iowa Caucus; Southern Legislatures Still Dominated by Men

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

This week: Republican women are vastly underrepresented in comparison to their Democratic counterparts; nearly half of U.S. states have implemented abortion bans or restrictions; the struggles Indonesian women face when they aspire to have political careers; Mar Galcerán becomes the first woman with Down syndrome to be elected to Spain’s parliamentsand more.

Rest in Power: Alice Shalvi, the Mother of Israeli Feminism

The late Alice Shalvi was an Orthodox mother of six, a remarkable intellectual—and a breaker of glass ceilings who advanced women’s equality in realms both secular and religious. Her two enduring passions: promoting justice for all women and a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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