Who’s Budgeting for Women’s Futures?

For too many—especially women of color—paychecks aren’t keeping up. Inflation is inching downward, but costs for groceries, childcare and rent feel out of reach.

But congressional fights over taxes and spending are really about fundamental questions: What do women, our families and communities need? What kind of future do we want to build? Recent budget proposals by the Biden administration and Republicans in Congress show how our two major political parties answer those questions. The answers were starkly different, revealing high stakes when it comes to women’s ability to participate in the economy, care for their families and control their own reproductive lives. 

April 2024 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

Here are 25 fantastic books releasing this month that we recommend you dig into. There are stunning debuts, masterful historical fiction, kaleidoscopic short stories, thoughtful manifestas, moving memoirs, groundbreaking nonfiction, and so much more.

Keeping Score: Kamala Harris Is First VP to Visit Abortion Provider; Fani Willis Can Pursue Racketeering Case Against Trump; Birth Control Access Is Key Election Issue

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: Alabama ruling endangers IVF; childcare costs are a significant barrier to parents having more children; Beyoncé and Olivia Rodrigo launch new charities; more than 9,000 women have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza; Biden addresses abortion access in the SOTU; new research on gender discrimination in the workplace; Kamala Harris’ visit to Minnesota abortion clinic is the first time a sitting U.S. president or vice president has visited an abortion provider; a judge ruled Fani Willis should not be disqualified from prosecuting the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump; and more.

Political Abuse Stifles Diversity, Report Shows

In 2022, voters elected the most diverse Congress in history—but that’s not saying much. Congress remains overwhelmingly male and white: Legislators of color make up just 25 percent of the government body, while the overall U.S. electorate is 41 percent people of color. That gap is as wide as it was 40 years ago.

One barrier to fair representation is abuse and intimidation—according to a new report from the Brennan Center. Officeholders at all levels of government face this abuse, but the amount of abuse is disproportionately high for women and people of color. ; It’s interfering with their ability to govern effectively—and it’s making them think twice about staying in politics.

When Every Miscarriage Is a Murder Scene, Poor Women Pay the Highest Price

The Alabama Supreme Court recently shocked the nation when it held that the word “child” includes frozen embryos. Treating an embryo as the equivalent of a child upends the fertility industry, as it threatens to end in vitro fertilization (IVF) services and puts the status of embryos already in storage in serious question.

While these implications are important to untangle, the brunt of the effects of fetal personhood will fall not upon families with the resources to undergo IVF, but rather on poor and non-white women. Every decision made by a pregnant person could be second-guessed by the government. Every step outside of the most risk-averse approach to pregnancy puts the pregnant person under the microscope of the state.

From a Psych Hospital to Harvard Law: One Black Woman’s Journey With Bipolar Disorder

I am a successful dual-degree student who is smart like you are, capable like you are, kind like you are and feeling like you are. I just also live with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

So next time you think—as one of my professors did—that there’s no one at Harvard Law School whose brain works “like that” and that people who plead guilty by reason of insanity are “not like us,” please know that we are among you, your friends, loved ones and community, contributing to society.

Rape Threats, Misogynist Slurs, Sexual Harassment and Doxing: How Online Abuse Is Used to Intimidate, Discredit and Silence

Eighty-five percent of women globally have witnessed online harassment and nearly 40 percent have experienced it directly.

Online abuse is made to feel targeted, personal, individual and organic—when in fact it’s often systemic, strategic and coordinated. Online abuse is one part of a broader spectrum of attacks—digital, physical, legal and psychological—intended to push women and nonbinary individuals offline, out of public discourse and out of their fields of expertise. Regardless of where they live and what they do, the goal is universal: to stop them from doing their jobs and shut them up.

(This article originally appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

The Next Battlefront in the War Against Women: Fighting for Congress to Fully Fund WIC

Leaders in Congress agreed on a topline figure to fund the government for the next fiscal year. But it is certainly no cause for celebration. The long-overdue agreement will continue most of last year’s levels, while providing enormous boosts for the Pentagon. With rising costs, last year’s funding levels are not enough for federal safety net programs to meet the needs of struggling Americans. Simply put, more people need more help and they will not get it. This is particularly true among single mothers—40 percent of whom needlessly struggle with food insecurity.

It’s all part of Republicans’ plan to both restrict abortion access and cut nutrition assistance from low-income mothers, infants and young children—creating a new wave of the feminization of poverty.

Front and Center: ‘A Lot of Single Mothers Want to Work—They Just Don’t Have the Support or Family or Guidance’

Back for its third year, Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“There are a lot of single mothers around here who want to work and just don’t have the support or family or guidance in front of them. That lack keeps them in the same position. For some people, all they have is themselves. … To know that I have a back up and can worry less about having enough gas or having to call on my mom. Now that I have this income coming in, I can save a little bit more. I can try to preserve a little bit more. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”