The 28th U.N. Climate Climate Change Conference (COP) currently meeting in Dubai until Dec. 12, is being hailed as the “Health COP”––promising to bring the climate and health agenda into the mainstream. Yet we are seeing almost no direct focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is a critical gap because climate change creates barriers to fulfilling those rights.
As of this fall, GOP leaders and lawmakers in over a dozen states have passed bans on teaching human sexuality or stymied federal grants aimed at addressing sexual behaviors and lowering rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
While this negatively affects all children, it is particularly harmful for Black girls. Black adolescent girls in the United States experience poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes due to bullying and stereotyping. These health concerns persist throughout their lives and a lack of sex education is a key factor.
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.”
When almost 80 percent of rapes are committed by a perpetrator the victim knows, panicking about strangers lurking in loos is a dangerous diversion. Banning trans women from women’s spaces due to misguided safety concerns is not only nonsensical, it is cruel. I am incensed that the spaces I love are being weaponized to advance bigotry and exclusion.
Protecting women means protecting all of us and our right to freely express who we are.
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: House Republicans’ plan to eliminate the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor; Southern states push discriminatory election policies; Scholastic book fairs affected by state bans on LGBTQ+ books and books about race; actor Suzanne Somers dies after career shaped by advocating for equal pay in television; Georgia supreme court upholds six-week abortion ban; 82 percent of mothers handle more childcare responsibilities than their partner; harassment and violence mounts against journalists in Gaza and American Jews and Muslims; National Domestic Violence Hotline reports surge in “reproductive coercion”-related calls; and more.
Ahead of Election Day on Nov. 7, I’m reflecting on the women on the ballot in our local elections, as well as my mom’s own run for political office in 2010 when I was 8.
Regardless of the election outcome, your decision to run will have a huge impact on the women around you—especially young women and girls.
Fa Guzmán, a nonbinary student, was thrilled to join a sorority in August 2022. Thus, they were shocked in April 2023, when the national sorority organization decided to interpret their policies differently: Fa was banned, kicked out of the sorority with no opportunity to appeal, due to being nonbinary.
Gender nonconforming, nonbinary and transgender children, teens and adults have been increasingly subjected to restrictive legislation and policies that deny their gender, their bodily autonomy and their agency. On college campuses, sororities could offer close friendships and a deeper sense of belonging on campus—if it weren’t for national policies that often restrict membership based on sex assigned at birth.
In honor of International Day of the Girl, the White House Gender Policy Council celebrated 15 young women leaders leading change in the U.S.
Kriti Bharti founded her nonprofit, Saarthi Trust, in 2011 to fight child marriage and empower women and girls. Since then, she has helped legally annul 49 child marriages and prevented 1,700 more from being “solemnized” in ceremonial engagements. She has aided in the rehabilitation of 20,500 children and women, and has conducted orientation programs that resulted in 35,000 villagers taking oaths to resist child marriages.
“One day,” she said, “we should be able to say, ‘Once upon a time, there was something called child marriage.’”
(This article originally appears in the Fall 2023 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get Ms. in print delivered straight to your mailbox!)
The world is letting girls fall behind at an alarming rate. This International Day of the Girl, the world must reassess its commitments to girls everywhere—for a flourishing world and, most importantly, for the individual health, rights and well-being of each girl, no matter what.
Girls will reach their fullest potential when global governments comprehensively prioritize their education, safety, health and autonomy.