Mothers Have Led the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement

Tarana Burke, Oleta ‘Lee’ Kirk Abrams and Lucy Tibbs are a few of the many mothers of survivors and survivors that are mothers who have long been leading the movement to end sexual violence. 

Today, we thank mothers for their work leading the movement to end sexual violence. For far too long, they have had to protect themselves, advocate for their community and lead the national movement. We must all take responsibility to end sexual violence.

Taylor Swift, Underdog Voices, and Women’s Historical Right to ‘Bolt’

“The Bolter,” in Taylor Swift’s eyes, is a woman who does not fit traditional society. Swift gives the bolter a voice—one that until now had been silent. She’s a woman not interested in being a trophy wife for the masses to admire. She has her own desires, preferences and demands, but her hopes and dreams are stifled by the rules that others want her to play by. She is unwilling to give of herself to play this role.  

Arizona’s 1864 Abortion Law Was Made in a Women’s Rights Desert. Here’s What Life Was Like Then.

In 1864, Arizona—which was an official territory of the United States—was a vast desert. Women in Arizona could not vote, serve on juries or exercise full control over property in a marriage. They had no direct say in laws governing their bodies. Hispanic and African American women had even fewer rights than white women.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2024, that a 160-year-old abortion ban passed during this territorial period will go into effect. Since that ruling, the Arizona legislature has been grappling with how to handle the near-total ban. Even if the ban is fully repealed, it could still take temporary effect this summer.

As someone who teaches history in Arizona and researches slavery, I think it is useful to understand what life was like in Arizona when this abortion ban was in force.

The Arizona Abortion Fight Is a Reminder That Progress Is Not Linear

April’s U.S. political news admittedly brought many horrors—from Alabama legislators advancing a bill to define sex based on “reproductive systems,” not gender identity; to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing an Idaho ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect; to the Arizona Supreme Court upholding an abortion ban from 1864, which opens the door to criminalizing health providers with up to five years of prison time if they provide abortion services. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called the ruling “a huge step backwards.”

Legal changes in the present may appear to be reversing earlier advancements, as Romero said. But advocates of equity need a better grasp of history so they are realistic about the intermittent successes of movements for social change. The fight for full gender equality is a long game.

Six Decades of Fighting for Women in Politics: Cynthia Richie Terrell, Founder of RepresentWomen

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation in politics, on boards, in sports and entertainment, in judicial offices and in the private sector in the U.S. and around the world—with a little gardening and goodwill mixed in for refreshment! The Weekend Reading began on Oct. 9, 2014, and was first formed as a listserv to share information on research, events and articles on strategies to advance women in politics. Released every Friday, the popular column has been online on Ms. almost every week now for four years.

In this special edition, we journey through founder and executive director of RepresentWomen Cynthia Richie Terrell’s writings that prove her heart in this work, take a trip through memory lane through her beloved pictures, and, more importantly, engage with RepresentWomen by supporting her team’s fundraising efforts to advance women’s representation and leadership in the United States.

Celebrating First Lady Betty Ford and Her Work for the Equal Rights Amendment

On Friday, April 5, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will issue a commemorative Forever stamp and hold an event to celebrate the life and legacy of Betty Ford, who served as first lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977. 

As first lady and wife of a Republican president, Betty Ford carved out a role for herself that included advocating for issues she cared about—including ratification of the ERA.

Women’s History: 10 of the Most Iconic Ms. Magazine Covers 

From calling attention to the endless labor performed by women in the home, to being the first magazine to put the first female speaker on its cover, Ms. covers allowed the magazine to make a statement on newsstands—and bring feminist conversations into the mainstream.

In honor of Women’s History Month, here are our picks of 10 of the magazine’s most impactful covers. 

Lost Women: Aphra Behn—Novelist, Spy and the First Woman to Earn a Living as an English Writer

This Women’s History Month, we’re reviving the iconic “Lost Women” column—diving into the archives to make these histories more accessible to our new age of Ms. readers.

For any writer to have produced 19 plays and 13 novels, plus 11 volumes of letters, translations and miscellaneous prose and verse, is remarkable. For a 17th-century woman to have done so is phenomenal. That was the literary output of Aphra Behn (1640-1689), the first woman to earn her living as a writer in the English language.