New Film Documents Campaign for Universal Abortion Pill Access in the U.S.

“The film did a brilliant job of telling the stories of people who need abortions and the efforts of activists and providers trying to meet that need,” said Plan C co-director Elisa Wells. “The film shows the harm that abortion restrictions are causing people and the possibility of a different solution that hasn’t been well known in the past, which is telehealth and abortion pills.”

Ranked-Choice Voting Is on the Rise—From the Academy Awards to the Texas Legislature

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

This week: Academy Award nominations used multi-winner, proportional ranked-choice voting; Columbia University names its first woman president; some members of the New York City Council continue to have questions about ranked-choice voting, despite its giving voters more voice and more choice; and more.

‘Why We Still Love Zora’: Irma McClaurin on PBS Documentary ‘Claiming a Space’ and Zora Neale Hurston’s Legacy

PBS’ American Experience premieres documentary film on pioneering writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). Directed by Tracy Heather Strain, Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space is the first film to explore Hurston’s life and ethnographic work in great detail.

“Anthropology only started looking at the literary styles of novels and non-scholarly writing in the late ’80s. But Zora had already been there and done that,” said Irma McClaurin, Black feminist poet, anthropologist and Hurston expert.

Keeping Score: FDA and Justice Dept. Improve Abortion Pill Access; Patty Murray Makes Senate History; Remembering Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Barbara Walters

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: two victories for abortion pills from the Biden administration; Patty Murray makes history as the first female Senate pro tem; Brittney Griner released from Russian prison; feminists mourn the loss of Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Barbara Walters; AAPI reporters are drastically underrepresented in news media; the U.S. House of will have twice as many committee chairs named “Mike” (six) as it will have women chairs (three); and more.

On the Power of Choice and Imagination: The Ms. Q&A with ‘Women Talking’ Producer Dede Gardner

Already showing in select theaters and releasing nationwide on Jan. 27, Women Talking is both beautiful and harrowing: an ideologically captivating drama about how a group of women with very little agency navigate making a choice that will have profound effects on their lives, their children’s lives and their community. This extraordinary film features an equally extraordinary ensemble cast, including Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Judith Ivey, with Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand.

The film takes place in 2010 in an isolated religious community, where it’s been discovered that men and boys have been drugging and raping the women and girls while they sleep; the story concentrates on the small group chosen to make a crucial decision for all the women and girls in the colony: stay and fight back, or leave. Ms. had the opportunity to speak with producer Dede Gardner about her work on the film and its reflection of the power of community, of choice, and of imagination.

She Wins: Here’s to Powerful Black Women Leaders on Screens

The 80th Golden Globes is days away. Viola Davis is the only Black female actor nominated in the Motion Pictures-Drama category.

In The Woman King, Davis plays the Agojie general of an all-female warrior unit and embodies the fierceness of this leader, while delivering a performance characterized by maternal softness and emotional vulnerability—traits often reserved on screen for white femininity. While not nominated for any Golden Globes this year, Bridgerton received 15 Emmy Award nominations in 2022 and this spring another powerful Black woman graces the screen, Queen Charlotte. Bridgerton is an opportunity to reevaluate diversity, equity and inclusion on the screen. Casting people of color provides jobs to talented actors who would otherwise be overlooked, but mere “inclusion” in the frame is insufficient.

How ‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’ Made Me a More Empathic Doctor

Watching the novel-turned-television show Fleishman Is in Trouble now, I am struck by how Rachel’s traumatic birth left the Fleishmans in trouble. Her birth story helped me realize how much my own traumatic birth transformed me as a doctor.

The show helps us feel the absurdity in insinuating that Rachel could have moved on from her delivery simply and gracefully, content to be alive and physically unscathed, perhaps attending therapy to help her cope. Taffy Brodesser-Akner shrewdly summed this all up when she wrote, Rachel “was what this doctor thought she was. She was nothing. She was just a woman.”

In ‘The Swimmers’ Film, Director Sally El Hosaini and Olympian Yusra Mardini Bring the Refugee Experience to the Screen

In 2015, sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini, trained as professional swimmers by their father, fled Syria with hopes of escaping their war-torn homeland. During the harrowing 25-day journey, the dinghy’s motor broke and the boat began to sink—so Yusra and Sara jumped into the frigid waters to drag the boat to shore. Eventually granted asylum in Germany, Yusra began training again at a Berlin pool and was selected to compete as part of the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Their story has been captured in The Swimmers, an evocative biographical drama directed by Sally El Hosaini and released on Netflix last month. In this Q&A, Sally El Hosaini and Yusra Mardini discuss the experience of making the film, how to tell true stories, and what they hope viewers will take away.