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.

Women’s History: 10 of the Most Iconic Ms. Magazine Covers 

From calling attention to the endless labor performed by women in the home, to being the first magazine to put the first female speaker on its cover, Ms. covers allowed the magazine to make a statement on newsstands—and bring feminist conversations into the mainstream.

In honor of Women’s History Month, here are our picks of 10 of the magazine’s most impactful covers. 

Lost Women: Aphra Behn—Novelist, Spy and the First Woman to Earn a Living as an English Writer

This Women’s History Month, we’re reviving the iconic “Lost Women” column—diving into the archives to make these histories more accessible to our new age of Ms. readers.

For any writer to have produced 19 plays and 13 novels, plus 11 volumes of letters, translations and miscellaneous prose and verse, is remarkable. For a 17th-century woman to have done so is phenomenal. That was the literary output of Aphra Behn (1640-1689), the first woman to earn her living as a writer in the English language. 

Speaking While Female: A History

Thousands of American women have courageously spoken in public over the past four centuries. Their speeches helped shape the beliefs, culture and ideals of America. But their voices have been omitted from American history, and our storehouse of common knowledge. The same cannot be said about the many lionized male orators who appear in our history books, media, and public discourse.

I know because when I give talks and teach classes in public speaking, I ask my audience: “Which famous speakers in American history can you name?” Many people can rattle off at least half a dozen American male speakers like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Billy Graham and Ronald Reagan. But when I ask which women speakers they remember, there’s a long pause. Someone might mention Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Mostly the faces are blank.

Could it be true, I wondered, that the “great men” in history gave all the greatest speeches? Or could it be we just don’t know about great women speakers?

What Gloria Steinem Means to Us

“I hope you live forever.”

“Gloria made me believe I could do and be whatever I chose.”

Ms. magazine changed my life and Gloria lives in my heart.”

“Your words changed my life and enabled me to become the feisty female that I am.”

Can you believe it’s Gloria Steinem’s 90th birthday? In honor of Ms. magazine’s beloved co-founding editor, we asked you to tell us: “What does Gloria mean to you?” These are just a few of your moving responses describing the many ways she “inspired our feminist lives.” Happy Birthday, Gloria!

What Does 90 Look Like? Just Ask Gloria Steinem

Today, as Gloria Steinem, herself, turns 90, I will not flatter her with compliments about how she still doesn’t look her age, or how considerate, clever and courageous she remains. What I’d like to do, instead, is celebrate her and the feminist movement she continues to devote her long life to, enabling me, and countless others of my generation to, as she once put it, “Live out the unlived lives of our mothers, because they were not able to become the unique people they were born to be.”

Solving the Great Pronoun Debate

The singular pronoun ‘they’ was widely accepted in written English until the end of the 18th century, when grammarians began attacking it. So ‘they’ isn’t new—it’s a return to venerable usage.

(For more ground-breaking stories like this, order 50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION, Alfred A. Knopf—a collection of the most audacious, norm-breaking coverage Ms. has published.)

Lost Women: Harriet H. Robinson, An American Mill Girl 

Reclaiming the forgotten histories of women was the driving force behind Ms.‘ monthly column “Lost Women.” This Women’s History Month, we’re reviving the iconic series—diving into the archives to make these histories more accessible to our new age of Ms. readers.

This week: Harriet Robinson captured and preserved the fleeting golden age for female factory laborers—a unique period when the daughters of New England led the way in the transformation of America … and of themselves. 

Looking Back and Forging Ahead: Three Feminist Writers on Women’s History, Feminist Media and Intergenerational Engagement

Friends of Ms. gathered last month to discuss two extraordinary anthologies, Blackbirds Singing: Inspiring Black Women’s Speeches from the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century by Janet Deward Bell and 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution. Both give voice to extraordinary women throughout history who fought to define and demand equality.

From The Vault: We Have Had Abortions (Spring 1972)

In what The Washington Post says “changed the course of the abortion rights movement,” Ms. published “We Have Had Abortions” in its first issue, featuring the signatures of 53 prominent American women. Women who have had abortions have spoken out many times during the past 50 years, and millions of women and men have marched in countless rallies and demonstrations for abortion rights.

For more ground-breaking stories like this, order 
50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION (Alfred A. Knopf)—a collection of the most audacious, norm-breaking coverage Ms. has published.