Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation; Rest in Power, Lani Guinier; NY Gov Kathy Hochul Is Shaking Things Up for Women; Black Women Are Just 6% of U.S. House

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

This week: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s term limit legislation could provide more women the chance to run and win; Minneapolis’s Andrea Jenkins is the first openly trans city council president in the U.S., and Seattle’s Debora Juarez marks same milestone for Indigenous people; Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick’s election brings the percentage of Black women in the U.S. House to 6 percent; Xiomara Castro, the incoming woman president of Honduras; the legacy of voting rights champion Lani Guinier, who died on Jan. 7; and more.

From the Vault: Coretta Scott King, a Revolutionary Woman

While Coretta Scott King has been celebrated as a civil rights icon, her vision of “the beloved community” was bolder and more revolutionary than her husband Martin’s. When we retell the story of radical African American activism in the 20th century, we can finally embrace Coretta Scott King as the truly revolutionary figure she was.

*This article was originally published in the Spring 2006 issue of Ms.—a few months after Coretta Scott King’s death on January 30, 2006.*

Don’t Fence Me In: Reproductive Freedom and Women Workers

For centuries under common law, a daughter or a wife was the property of the family father or husband or, upon his death, the closest relative with a penis. Whatever was theirs was his, but most importantly the family patriarch oversaw her most valuable asset: her womb. In earliest medical thought, a womb was fertile ground in need of guarding and fences to make property rights clearer, and she to be plowed and planted with seed, quite literally semen.

We thought such laws and cultural metaphors were behind us. But now the cowboys of Texas have put a bounty on women’s wombs. The stakes are women’s civil rights as citizens, surely, but also financial ones.

Women Are Taking Over City Councils—From New York to New Mexico

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

This week: Women hold 31 of the 51 seats on the New York City Council; the all-women city council in Las Cruces, N.M.; meet 21 women involved with voting rights; Women make up nearly half of the Cabinet in the Netherlands; the dearth of women in one teen’s AP history textbook; 111 must-see places in women’s History in D.C.; and more.

Rest in Power: Sarah Weddington, Feminist Attorney and Champion of Roe v. Wade

On Jan. 22, 2022, we mark the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The case was argued by a 26-year-old female lawyer from Texas: Sarah Weddington, in her first appearance before the Court. Female lawyers were so rare in those days that the Supreme Court lawyers lounge didn’t even have a ladies’ room. There were no female judges; Weddington faced a wall of older white men.

Almost five decades after the decision, Sarah Weddington died at her home in Austin on Dec. 26, 2021, at age 76, after a period of declining health. Rest in power, Sarah Weddington.

It’s Mourning in America: Feminists Reflect on the Incredible Loss of Our Sista bell hooks

The National Women’s Studies Association mourns the passing of Dr. Gloria Jean Watkins, Ph.D./bell hooks—genius, scholar, cultural critic, author, professor, truth speaker, a lover of words and of us. She challenged us, taught us, spoke to and sometimes for us. She gave us the words to say and the courage to say them. bell hooks never gave up. She never gave in. She was more than we could have asked for and gave us more than we could have ever imagined. As someone said, our heroes are dying, and our enemies are in power.

As NWSA marks this moment, I reached out and asked some of our former presidents to join with me and share their reflections and stories to add their voices to our collective of love.