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.

A Devastating Supreme Court Decision on Sexual Assault Shows Why the U.S. Needs the ERA Now

When she was a college freshman in 1994, Christy Brzonkala was gang-raped by two students at Virginia Tech. Brzonkala turned to a law newly passed called the Violence Against Women Act—and her case made it to the Supreme Court, where women’s right to equal protection from violence ultimately died.

When passed, the Equal Rights Amendment would spark Congress to enact new laws on gender violence, including redrafting the Violence Against Women Act civil rights remedy, and chart a path to overturn Brzonkala’s devastating decision.

The Department of Education is Failing Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault

In March, President Biden issued an executive order asking the Department of Education to re-examine the harmful Title IX regulations put in place under Betsy DeVos. But, after months of empty platitudes about “urgency” and how the Department “takes these matters seriously,” they have failed to take any meaningful action and will delay any changes until May of 2022. 

No survivor should have to wait to have their most basic rights met.

The Danger of Plea Deals in Sexual Assault Cases

An excerpt from Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal by Carissa Byrne Hessick on the danger plea deals pose in sexual assault cases:

Jeffrey Epstein’s power translated to favorable treatment as he worked his way through the U.S. justice system—but you don’t have to have millions of dollars or be friends with a president and a prince. You just have to convince a prosecutor that it isn’t worth the time or the effort.

Paid Leave to Save Your Life

The paid leave proposal in the Build Back Better plan would specifically provide paid leave for people who need to “find safety from assault, stalking and sexual violence.”

The recognition and inclusion of people who experience intimate partner violence in the Build Back Better plan’s proposal for federal paid family and medical leave is a path-breaking step in supporting a population who is often invisible in the workplace.

California Law Eliminates Spousal Rape Exemption—But “Patriarchy Still Dies Hard”

Up to 14 percent of married women experience marital rape. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill mostly eliminating an antiquated distinction in California law between “spousal rape” and rape, which has for years resulted in more lenient penalties for perpetrators who rape their spouses.

“The first question a rape victim is asked should not be whether or not they are married.”

California Law Bans “Condom Stealthing”: Removing a Condom Without Consent Is “A Grave Violation of Dignity and Autonomy”

Stealthing, the act of removing a condom during sex without consent, has been prohibited in California.

“I have been working on the issue of ‘stealthing’ since 2017 and I am elated that there is now some accountability for those who perpetrate the act,” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who authored the law. “This law is the first of its kind in the nation, but I urge other states to follow in California’s direction and make it clear that stealthing is not just immoral but illegal.”

Keeping Score: California Schools to Provide Free Period Products; Title X Gag Rule Reversed; Texas Abortion Ban Reinstated

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 reverses Title X gag rule; federal courts halt, then reinstate Texas’s six-week abortion ban; school districts crack down on BLM and pride flags; Playboy features first gay man on its cover; California overrides workplace NDAs *and* requires free menstrual products in schools; and more.

“Respect Us, or Expect Us”: Indigenous Women Continue to Fight Against Pipeline 3

On October 1, Pipeline 3 became operational in Minnesota, despite resistance efforts led by Indigenous women and two-spirit individuals, who are seeking to hold President Biden accountable for promises made and broken.

The construction of the pipeline endangers local women and girls and infringes upon the rights of the rice, the land, the water, the nonhuman beings and the people.