An Introduction to Catalonia’s Feminist Administration

For many decades, sexual and reproductive rights have been at the core of the global feminist struggle—but only an unapologetically feminist administration puts them at the center of the political agenda. Such is the progressive turn the government of Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain, assumed in May 2021 when it created a Ministry of Equality and Feminisms.

In October 2021, this new ministry drafted the national strategy for sexual and reproductive rights. This was founded on the premise that the personal is political, so it must also be public policy. This strategy sought to guarantee the effective exercise of existing rights—particularly abortion, long-term contraception and sexuality education.

Many women are now asking: What about perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause?

Women Use Lived Experience to Fight for Second Chances for Incarcerated Women: ‘I Am Not an Eternal Criminal’

We see more than 600,000 people released from U.S. prisons each year. This April, Second Chance Month, is an opportunity for us to bring to light the difficulties for those seeking a successful return back to society.

Incarcerated women in particular face unique challenges compared to their male counterparts, and their rate of entry has accelerated at twice the pace of men over the past three decades.

Women Deserve Our ‘Menopause Moonshot.’ U.S. Policy Can Help.

Menopause is having its moment, so say daily news headlines. A new essay series in the medical journal The Lancet, published to coincide with International Women’s Day, argues all that hype—combined with “over-medicalization” and reliance on menopausal hormone therapy—harms women by framing menopause as a disease. But, in fact, the real disservice to women is the lack of consideration of menopause in the halls of government.

If we truly want to rise to the so-called moment for menopause, here is a policy agenda that can best serve us.

The Power of the Pen to Change the World

It’s a sunny day in Mikocheni, Tanzania. Sia Fred Towo clutches a bag of reusable sanitary pads in one hand, showcasing it to a group of women in a dusty yard with a look of seriousness and pride that rarely accompanies menstrual products. Towo is the director of Femme International, a nonprofit in East Africa, on a mission to break down global menstrual taboos. Towo is not only bringing period products to remote villages in Tanzania, she is bravely baring her own painful experiences in a borderless and ageless format: the op-ed.

Towo is one of six grassroots change leaders who are turning to the power of the pen to expose injustices and inspire change on a broad array of urgent issues—from climate change to education access. She joins courageous women from Afghanistan, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Peru who are writing op-eds about their personal experiences with these issues.

The Ms. Q&A: Dr. Jen Gunter on Combatting Misinformation and Democratizing Knowledge on Women’s Health

Dr. Jen Gunter’s third book, BLOOD: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation, is an accessible look at the multiple ways that the patriarchal control of medicine has allowed misinformation about reproduction, sexuality and anatomy to flourish.

Ms. sat down with Gunter to discuss the book and how she hopes to “democratize knowledge and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Experts Concerned for Plight of Women and Children Civilians in Gaza

In a 15-2 ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—which is the U.N.’s high court—ordered Israel to do more to help civilians and to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The ICJ also ordered the immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas militants during the invasion of Israeli territory on Oct. 7.

U.N. Women recently released a report documenting the gendered impact of the crisis in Gaza. During the 100-plus days since the Oct. 7 attack, “women and girls make up the majority of those killed, wounded and displaced,” said U.N. Women executive director Sima Bahous. “Some 1 million women and girls are displaced in Gaza, two mothers killed every hour, while around 10,000 children have lost their fathers. … These are people, not numbers, and we are failing them. That failure, and the generational trauma inflicted on the Palestinian people over these 100 days and counting, will haunt us all for generations to come.”

Stop Stereotyping Black Girls: Offer Inclusive Sex Education in Schools

As of this fall, GOP leaders and lawmakers in over a dozen states have passed bans on teaching human sexuality or stymied federal grants aimed at addressing sexual behaviors and lowering rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

While this negatively affects all children, it is particularly harmful for Black girls. Black adolescent girls in the United States experience poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes due to bullying and stereotyping. These health concerns persist throughout their lives and a lack of sex education is a key factor.

Why Menopause Representation Matters: ‘Women in Positions of Power Realize This Is Not Something to Be Secretive About’

Representation of menopause in popular culture matters. Among the ways menopause has been reflected on TV, the And Just Like That cast has tackled issues of aging, including a cameo by Ms. co-founder Gloria Steinem last week.

It was also the main theme of a Judy Blume film screening and panel Ms. recently co-hosted in New York City entitled “Menopause Needs Our Margaret”—a reference to Blume’s iconic book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The event gathered the filmmakers behind the Judy Blume Forever documentary, Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, plus menopause advocates Stacy London, Sharon Malone, Omisade Burney-Scott, Tamsen Fadal and Susan McPherson, in conversation with Jennifer Weiss-Wolf.

Read on for highlights from our New York City event.