Student Loan Debt Is a Gender Issue, Especially for Women of Color

The student loan debt crisis is at an all time high, with 45 million people carrying an estimated $1.7 trillion in federal student loan debt. Women carry roughly two-thirds of it. Black and Brown women are disproportionately impacted by this issue. 

Economic inequality, as influenced by class, race and gender, further increases each day student loan debt cancellation is delayed. 

Celebrating and Supporting Guatemalan Women Anti-Corruption Fighters and Champions of Democracy

Traveling to Guatemala last month, the juxtaposition of situations was striking. The depth to which corruption has become entrenched in the government, driven by the perniciousness of wealth inequality, is despairing; the lack of viable solutions nearly hopeless. Yet, the strength of the advocacy and legal community, led by the heroism of scores of women who are in many cases putting their own lives and livelihoods on the line to relentlessly beat forward a path to justice is deeply motivating.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Ranked-Choice Voting Is Key in Alaska Special Election; How Latin America Is Achieving Gender Parity

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

This week: The Senate confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court; why so many countries in Latin America are achieving gender parity; major barriers for women in China and South Korea; ranked-choice voting takes center stage in Alaska special election; the 2018 law that more than doubled the number of women on boards in California has been struck down; it’s National Poetry Month; and more.

Keeping Score: Leaders Stand Up for Trans Rights; California’s First Latina Supreme Court Justice; Oklahoma Moves to Ban All Abortions

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 in this biweekly round-up.

This week: Biden administration announces gender-neutral passports to be made available; California confirms first Latina state Supreme Court justice; Governors Gavin Newsom and Jay Inslee increase abortion accessibility; Polish pro-choice activist charged for assisting an abortion; and more.

What Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Historic Nomination Means to Women of Color in Law

Approximately one in three lawyers are women. Fewer than two in 10 lawyers are people of color. And only one in 115 justices of the Supreme Court has ever been a woman of color. That number could soon double as Ketanji Brown Jackson has become the first Black woman ever nominated to the highest court in the country. 

Madiba Dennie and Elizabeth Hira are uniquely positioned to discuss this historic nomination: They’re both women of color, they’re both attorneys, and they both work at the Brennan Center for Justice on issues of democracy and equity. This discussion highlights the networks they have relied on, the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain, and the democracy they hope to build.

Is the Gender Wage Gap Really Closing?

A new report on the gender pay gap might make us hopeful—but there are factors not reflected in these numbers. Even still, reports show overall upwards trends for young women’s earnings. It would be easy to conclude that this means the gender pay gap will be gone in a few years as these young women continue to gain experience … right? Not so fast. 

Death of Build Back Better Will Hurt Women and Kids the Most

It’s been just over a year since the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed, through which the federal government invested in people by giving them stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and an expanded child tax credit that benefited nearly every parent in the country. While there was no shortage of energy from House Democrats and many of their Senate colleagues to pass Build Back Better—ARPA’s successor—the bill stalled in the Senate.

Policies that help women aren’t just the right thing to do—they’re the smart thing to do. Now is not the time to shrink behind austerity politics that prevent our government from meeting the needs of its people, especially those who have always been marginalized.

Environmental Justice Is An Abortion Rights Issue

As abortion becomes increasingly inaccessible in much of the U.S., many more people may soon find themselves with no choice but to fly or drive long distances to access the care that they need.

People should be able to exercise their bodily autonomy and control their reproductive lives without leaving their communities. Whether people opt to make lengthy drives or to fly in the face of bans and restrictions, the environmental cost of forcing this travel will ultimately impact us all.