“Harriet” and the Combahee River Raid

Most Americans know of Harriet Tubman’s work on the Underground Railroad. But there are still many things about Harriet Tubman’s extraordinary Civil War service that Americans do not know—including being the first woman in U.S. history to lead men into battle, in what became known as the Combahee River Raid.

In 1974, Tubman’s incredible victories and sacrifices to free the most oppressed inspired a group of Black feminists to build coalitions and engage globally in political activism to free Black women from capitalism, racism and patriarchy: the Combahee River Collective.

Keeping Score: Democrats Demand Repeal of Global Gag Rule; Sexual Harassment Is Now a Military Code Offense; Black Voters Eager to See First Black Woman to Supreme Court

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: Mississippi abortion ban threatens future of Roe v. Wade; McDonald’s employees pursue anti-sexual harassment and discrimination training; Democrats demand permanent repeal of global gag rule; California signs Equal Pay Pledge; same-gender couples face $30,000 income gap; and more.

More Work Ahead: Fighting Food Insecurity Among Military Families

In one of its last sessions of 2021, Congress passed a pared-down version of the Military Family Basic Needs Allowance as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This marks an important first step toward closing gaps in our social safety net through which currently-serving military families have been allowed to fall. But it’s miles from enough.

In the wake of Congress’s lackluster response, it is more urgent than ever for the administration to use its authority to take action on concrete, long-term solutions to address military hunger.

The Ms. Top Feminists of 2021

From COVID vaccines to abortion rights, infrastructure bills to Olympic athletes, 2021 has been a monunmental year for feminists around the globe. With so many of our rights in jeopardy, and with so many women struggling to recover from the pandemic, activists have had to work even harder to stand up for the causes we believe in.

Tackling voting rights, public health, reproductive justice and much more, here are our top feminists of 2021.

‘Our Job Is Not Done’: Women Veterans in Congress Continue To Help Afghan Refugees

Women policymakers and veterans are pressing the Biden administration to protect Afghan refugees, specifically women and children.

“Women have been on the frontlines—and not just in Afghanistan—of promoting democratic values in an important way,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill. “So if we want to see an Afghanistan that does not look like an Afghanistan of 20 years ago, then supporting women is a critical piece of that … Our job is not done.”

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.

As a Woman Researcher, I Experienced the Harassment and Silencing of the Women Soldiers I Interviewed

Women peacekeepers are being asked to increase the security for women civilians in conflict zones—yet women peacekeepers are being sexually harassed and assaulted by men in their own militaries. How can the U.N. Security Council stand by its call to troop contributing countries to increase the numbers of women peacekeepers they are deploying, when they can’t keep them safe?

From Sexual Assault to Parental Leave and Childcare, Military Funding Bill Will “Kick the Military into the 21st Century”

Rampant violence against women in the military has gone largely unaddressed, despite repeated promises by military leaders. But now, new legislation in Congress might finally force the military to change.

“After a decade of fighting to remove cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment from the chain of command, and seeing hundreds of thousands of survivors further victimized and failed by the military justice system, we are finally taking this earth-shaking leap forward and making clear to all that sexual violence has no place in our fighting forces,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who co-sponsored over 45 major provisions adopted in the House-passed version of the annual defense policy bill.