Arizona’s 1864 Abortion Law Was Made in a Women’s Rights Desert. Here’s What Life Was Like Then.

In 1864, Arizona—which was an official territory of the United States—was a vast desert. Women in Arizona could not vote, serve on juries or exercise full control over property in a marriage. They had no direct say in laws governing their bodies. Hispanic and African American women had even fewer rights than white women.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2024, that a 160-year-old abortion ban passed during this territorial period will go into effect. Since that ruling, the Arizona legislature has been grappling with how to handle the near-total ban. Even if the ban is fully repealed, it could still take temporary effect this summer.

As someone who teaches history in Arizona and researches slavery, I think it is useful to understand what life was like in Arizona when this abortion ban was in force.

Coming to Broadway: ‘Suffs’ Explores the Struggle for Women’s Equality—One That’s Far From Over

We at Ms. magazine are counting the days until Suffs arrives on Broadway, following its sold-out, extended run at New York City’s Public Theater.

The show opens in 1913 as the women’s movement is heating up in the United States. Anchored by a cadre of suffragists—“Suffs,” as they call themselves—they are in relentless, creative pursuit of the right to vote. Reaching across and against generational, racial and class divides, these brilliant, flawed women manage to entertain and inspire.

(This essay is part of “The ERA Is Essential to Democracy” Women & Democracy collection.)

Lost Women: Harriet H. Robinson, An American Mill Girl 

Reclaiming the forgotten histories of women was the driving force behind Ms.‘ monthly column “Lost Women.” This Women’s History Month, we’re reviving the iconic series—diving into the archives to make these histories more accessible to our new age of Ms. readers.

This week: Harriet Robinson captured and preserved the fleeting golden age for female factory laborers—a unique period when the daughters of New England led the way in the transformation of America … and of themselves. 

Rewriting Herstory: Proposing an AP U.S. Women’s History Course

Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lincoln, Roosevelt, King, Kennedy and Reagan each played critical roles in the history of our country and remain household names. Yet what of Murray, Chisholm, Eastman, Stone and Stanton? These women contributed greatly to the success of America, yet remain largely unknown to most Americans, including high school students. 

We are advocating to change this. As AP history students and educators, we propose the creation of a standalone AP United States Women’s History course. The youth of America are entitled to these stories traditionally left untold: the history of 50 percent of our population, who are currently a mere sidebar of token inclusion within a generic textbook on men’s history.

Reps. Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley Lead Fight for ERA—100 Years After Its Introduction

ERA advocates in the U.S. have waged a 100-year fight just to get gender equality enshrined in the Constitution.

“The women of this country are exhausted, so we are leveraging every tool available,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), co-chair of the ERA Caucus.

“We won’t stop until the ERA is officially part of the Constitution,” said fellow co-chair Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.). “We owe it to our daughters, to the next generation, to those who fought before us.”

Persistence Overcomes Resistance: Honoring Women Suffragists Through Public Artwork

The percentage of women in politics, and many other professions, has grown significantly in the past few decades. However, when one looks at public artwork, women are almost nonexistent.

Inspired by the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the Chicago Womxn’s Suffrage Tribute Committee formed in 2020 in order to create public artwork to honor those who fought to legalize the vote for women. What originally started out as a one-mural project featuring suffrage leaders grew into three murals, all within one block of each other in the South Loop of Chicago.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: How Black Suffragists Fought for Voting Rights; Women’s (In)Equality Day; Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Challenges Rick Scott

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

This week: Despite Women’s Equality Day celebrations, the disparities in women’s representation—particularly in employment, wages and government—are still significantly low compared to our male counterparts; the numerous Black suffragists forgotten by history: Mary Church Terrell, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Fannie Barrier Williams, Sojourner Truth, Lugenia Burns Hope, Mary McLeod Bethune and Nannie Helen Burroughs; Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is running for Senate, posing a challenge to incumbent Republican Senator Rick Scott; and more.

Marking the 175th Anniversary of Seneca Falls: ‘Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand’

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

This week: This week marks the 175th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, when suffragists and abolitionists convened to ignite the movement for women’s political and social equality; House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi wrote of equality’s slow progress; The Campaign School at Yale, led by Patricia Russo, welcomed 76 students from across the U.S. and worldwide to Yale Law School; How Gretchen Whitmer made Michigan a Democratic stronghold; the impact of having women make up the majority of New York City’s council; and more.