Feminists have long been sounding the alarm on the use of rape as a weapon of war—and firsthand accounts of what happened in Israel on Oct. 7 are spurring an urgent conversation once again, reminding us that the battle to secure justice for the victims of rape through war crimes prosecutions continues to this day. Below, we’ve curated some Ms. reporting from the last decade, to help readers better understand the feminist fight to designate rape as a war crime and a crime against humanity.
Democrats in Congress, students and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are growing frustrated with the Biden administration’s slow pace to finalize proposed updates to Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools. More than 60 House Democrats sent a recent letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, calling on the agency to act.
“So for the last three years, and now fourth school year, student survivors have fewer rights. Now it’s getting close to 2024 and we don’t know when a final rule will come out. So students are frustrated, and we’re frustrated as advocates.”
Six years after #MeToo went viral, significant state legislation has gone into law, with 25 states plus D.C. passing over 80 anti-harassment bills. Bipartisan action from the federal government led to President Biden signing both the Speak Out Act, to address predatory nondisclosure agreements; and the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Harassment Act, to restore the ability of workers to take their employers to court—both in 2022.
This legislative progress is welcome, but there is more work to be done. It is laudable that 25 five states have enacted additional protection for workers against abusive NDAs and offer added legal shields when it comes to sexual harassment beyond federal statutes. But that leaves 25 states that have not.
The Senate is feverishly debating the president’s $106 billion supplemental budget, which includes requests for additional aid to Ukraine and Israel, measures to counter China’s influence, significant humanitarian assistance funds, and border security.
Republican negotiators have chosen to use the urgency of the foreign aid requests to squeeze concessions from the administration and Democratic senators around the asylum process itself.
It’s almost the weekend, which means it’s time for our Weekend Reading series—so pour yourself a glass of wine, curl up under that blanket, and catch up on the latest in women’s representation in the U.S. and abroad.
This week: Michigan’s state legislature is roughly 40 percent women, and ranked-choice voting passed in three cities; how women’s equality and leadership thrived among many Native American nations; America Ferrera keeps it real with the BBC; and more.
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 this biweekly roundup.
This week: Federal judge weakens the Voting Rights Act; Congress fails to fully fund WIC; Attorney General Merrick Garland defends women traveling to receive abortion care; Jill Biden launches an Initiative of Women’s Health Research; American women are living six years longer than men.
November 30 marks Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day, spotlighting that those working full- or part-time are still earning only 55 cents for every $1 paid to non-Latino white men. Only Latinas have a wider gap. But 55 cents is, in many ways, an incomplete figure.
There is much that is unknown about the nuances of the pay gap for Native American women. For years, the United States has failed to invest in data collection on Indigenous communities, making it difficult to reliably track wage gaps among the 574 federally recognized tribes.
On the floors of state legislatures over the past year, doctors detailed the risks their pregnant patients have faced when forced to wait to terminate until their health deteriorated. Women shared their trauma. Some Republican lawmakers even promised to support clarifications.
But so far, few efforts to add exceptions to the laws have succeeded.
In the many tributes written since Rosalynn Carter’s death on Nov. 19, one word often is used to describe her: trailblazer. Indeed, Rosalynn Carter was like no other first lady. She testified before Congress on mental health issues; made policy proposals on caregiving and established the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers in 1987; worked to advance women’s rights; and helped in the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Carter’s own words are the most powerful about her belief and commitment to equality. “Although there has been progress, women still struggle to take their full, rightful places in politics, the media, business and athletics. … I would like for people to think that I took advantage of the opportunities I had and did the best I could.”
On Dec. 5, the Supreme Court will hear Moore v. United States, which could dramatically limit the government’s ability to raise revenue for critical priorities, including childcare, disability care, affordable housing and paid leave. It could also widen an already gaping wealth gap for women and people of color, particularly single Black women and Latinas.
The case is being brought by Charles and Kathleen Moore, who own a small stake in an Indian manufacturing firm. Due to a provision in the 2017 Trump tax law, the couple was directed to pay a one-time tax of $15,000 on the profits of their investments. Rather than do so, they are challenging the law. Unless you’re a tax lawyer, this technical legal question may not only seem dry, but also irrelevant. So why should women care about this case?Even a narrow ruling in favor of the Moores could upend our existing tax code.