America’s Lack of Paid Leave Is Devastating Women and Families

Thirty years ago, a group of determined women ushered the groundbreaking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) into law after a long fight. While passage of the FMLA was a monumental achievement for its time, coverage and eligibility restrictions mean that over 40 percent of the workforce are excluded from its protections. Advocates hoped the FMLA would lay the foundation for a universal paid family and medical leave program.

Women can’t wait another 30 years. The time for paid leave is now.

Reads for the Rest of Us: The Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023

I have spent the last few months scouring catalogs and websites, receiving hundreds of books and even more emails from authors, publicists and publishers, reading your book Tweets and DMs, all to find out what books are coming out in 2023 that I think you, my exceptional, inquisitive and discerning Ms readers, will want to hear about. 

Here’s your TBR (to be read) for the year. Enjoy!

Corporate Profiteering Is Driving Inflation

The Federal Reserve has responded to inflation with rapid interest rate increases, meant to tamper down prices, at each of its past seven meetings. They are expected to do the same at their Jan. 31 Open Market Committee gathering. However, these hikes can also increase the risk of recession and unemployment.

Too many companies have opted to use inflation as an excuse to boost profit. Caregiving is a key area of potential government investment that could help women. Their needs are often put last, after childcare and elder care. The economy is already fragile after a global pandemic; now is the time to prioritize people.

‘Gray Love’: Yes, Older People Have Desires

Gray Love: Stories About Dating and New Relationships After 60 showcases men and women’s own voices, showing the nitty-gritty headiness of first dates, the joy of getting to know someone’s history, politics and quirks, and the inevitability of decline.

Nan Bauer-Maglin, co-editor, says it’s rare for books about love to intertwine with aging. “I hope that younger readers will learn that older people have desires and still want to date and have romantic relationships. I hope that they will see that older people do not want to spend the rest of their lives longing for a person who is no longer there.”

Front and Center: With a Guaranteed Income, ‘I Don’t Have to Worry or Stress Anymore,’ Says Mississippi Mom

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“Before the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, I was living check to check. I was working part time because we had no babysitter, and my work check was usually only $300 to $400 a month. I’m a single parent so I had to manage $400 a month for me and my two kids. It’s very hard being a single mother with no help. … I had times where I’d miss days of work because of no babysitter. But now I can go to work every day. I’ve got a full schedule of work now. It’s helped a lot.”

January 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. Here’s to a new year and, hopefully, a better one for us all. I wish you a year of peace, collectivity, good health, bountiful joy and, of course, fantastic reading! You can start with these 33 titles that I am most excited about this month. 

The PUMP Act Is Here. Now, We Normalize

Last week, President Biden signed off on a $1.7 trillion spending package that has everybody buzzing about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Less discussion has surrounded another piece of legislation included in the omnibus, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act—a long-awaited victory for all breastfeeding, chest-feeding and exclusively pumping parents working outside of the home.

Why is there so much resistance to women pumping in the workplace?