Keeping Score: Rest in Power, Madeleine Albright; Shalanda Young Is First Black Woman to Lead OMB; State Policies Threaten Trans Kids

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: Rest in power, Madeleine Albright, the first woman U.S. secretary of state; U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’s commitment to gender equality decreased in score from a “B” to a “B-” in 2021; Ukrainian President appeals to Biden for aid; the House passes the CROWN Act; Shalanda Young becomes first Black woman to lead OMB; Hungary elects its first woman president; Colorado could enshrine reproductive rights in state law; Americans in support of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and more.

Post-Soviet States: Learning from Women Amid a Battle for Democracy and Gender Equality

We must address this moment and reflect on our democracy by examining post-Soviet state’s numerous battles for free and equal democracy. While recognizing post-Soviet culture often limits women and their agency, efforts have been made to increase female representation through the introduction of gender quotas and the adoption of international gender equality strategies on national levels. Similar initiatives have long been quickly rejected by the U.S., but with their success in challenging these nations’ dominant patriarchal motifs we should reconsider adopting similar policies in our own government.

Breastfeeding in a War Zone

As Ukrainian families flee Russian brutality, women, children and especially infants are vulnerable to another scourge of war: disease and hunger. Health experts advocate breastfeeding over infant formula to keep babies healthy in the midst of bombardment and displacement. 

“It felt like my breasts were empty and daughter was always crying,” said Mariia Ismahulova, who was forced to flee underground with her family to escape missile strikes.

Will Ukraine Bury Feminist Foreign Policies or Will It Reveal Their Power?

In Ukraine, once again, the rules of conscription and refuge are following a familiar pattern: Men to the front, women and children to shelter, inside and outside the country. This highlights how conventional our expectations still are when it comes to war.

Now is the time to insist on gender equality at any future or current negotiating tables and centering the voices of those who have been most directly affected by conflict. But the proponents of feminist foreign policies also need to ensure that an understanding of the gendered implications of this conflict informs the policies that are pursued today.

Rape Rhetoric and Russia’s War on Ukraine

As in the case of many an abusive ex-partner, Putin has threateningly hovered and glowered over Ukraine since the country declared itself independent in 1991.  

This playbook of bullying and domination is well known to those who study sexual and interpersonal violence, with parallels both implicit and explicit. For years, witnesses have stood on the sidelines while Putin raged and menaced.