Keeping Score: NYC’s First Women-Majority Council Takes Office; Only 55% of Non-Parents Want Kids Someday; D.C. Students Get Free Period Products

This week: Nebraskans face one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation; New York City’s first women-majority city council takes office; Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers sentenced to life in prison; D.C. Council approved free menstrual products in all schools; the gender gap in higher education widens; and more.

Ten Steps Closer to Parity: Wins for Women in 2021

While the United States has a long way to go to achieve intersectional, gender-balanced governance, progress was still made in 2021. From historic appointments to record-breaking elections, women reached new milestones at every level of government this year.

So as difficult as it may be to find cause to celebrate in challenging times, here are 10 reasons to have hope for a more gender-inclusive future. 

The Government Has a Long History of Controlling Women—One That Never Ended

Abortion is not (just) a health issue. Whether we are willing to let women and people capable of becoming pregnant control their own bodies, for health or any other reason, is an equity issue—a question of who deserves bodily autonomy and freedom to reach their full potential.

Ultimately, abortion bans and restrictions are part of broader legal and societal structures that were unambiguously designed to not recognize women’s inherent equality.

U.S. Military’s Male-Dominated Culture Harms More Than Just Women

Major gender gaps persist in the U.S. armed forces, negatively impacting operational effectiveness, military culture and compliance with international law, according to a report released by the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security.

To ensure women’s meaningful participation, the report suggests that women must be promoted to leadership positions and their input must be valued. To do so, the military must adopt better and more complete childcare and parental leave policies and decouple physical fitness standards from advancement.

Want to Make Your Country Happier? Elect Women.

The top-ranked countries of the World Happiness Report share a high level of public investment in human infrastructure. These countries are not socialist—they simply have more women in leadership positions.

The success stories of the 2021 World Happiness Report assure us that a shift towards caring policies and public welfare is not draining on the economy but rather the opposite.

Keeping Score: Chloé Zhao Makes Oscars History; Philonise Floyd Calls Chauvin Verdict “Necessary”; Senate Passes Anti-Hate Crime Bill; Reuters’s First Woman Editor-in-Chief

This week: Biden administration speaks on Black maternal health; all U.S. adults are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination; Derek Chauvin is convicted for murdering George Floyd; Senate passes bill to address anti-Asian crimes; Biden pledges to cut emissions in half; and more!