On the Hill

A Movement, Not Just a Magazine – 50 Years of Ms.

Photo by Madelyn Amos

Last week, D.C. warmly welcomed Ms. to celebrate 50 years of groundbreaking journalism and inspiring generations of women and feminist activists. The Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. hosted multiple events – a news conference at the National Press Club, a panel at the Women’s Bar Association of D.C., and a reception in the Senate’s Mansfield Room.

“A New Ms. Poll focused on the Issues Driving Women’s Voting Decisions: Congress and the 2024 Elections” was debuted at the National Press Club and the following speakers gave their thoughts on the current state of gender issues: Ms. executive editor Kathy Spillar, pollster Celinda Lake, American labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, ERA Coalition Chair Zakiya Thomas, and Feminist Majority Foundation president Eleanor Smeal.

Photo by Madelyn Amos

This news conference comes right as Ms. and FMF released a new poll report on issues driving women’s voting decisions in the critical 2024 elections including abortion, women’s equality, and the Equal Rights Amendment. Celinda Lake from Lake Research Partners presented the research firm’s findings. The poll revealed that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and passage of abortion restrictions and outright bans has energized pro-abortion rights voters, especially women who have the power to determine the outcome of elections.

The event allowed audience members to ask questions to the panelists and give accounts of their own experiences after the Dobbs decision. Audience members noted the overwhelming impact on, not just abortion access, but also on basic health care. “I live in a fairly red area in Fredericksburg… There is a 60-day average wait for an ultrasound,” said one audience member. Another said: “The wait is longer the further south you go. We’re hearing from our leads in Southern Virginia that the wait is longer – even for basic health care – along the Tennessee border.”

The reception in the Mansfield Room of the Senate was kindly sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and welcomed speakers such as Speaker Emirata Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, American labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and former senator and president of the American Constitution Society Russ Feingold.

Read more about Sen. Feinstein in Ms.’s article “Rest in Power, Sen. Dianne Feinstein: ‘The Feminist Movement Has Lost a True Friend’

The audience was not just women who were well-established activists or educators – it was also young, college-aged women who came to hear the speakers and celebrate Ms. Magazine. Generation Ratify (covered by Ms. in “Young Women Vow to Carry the Equal Rights Amendment Across the Finish Line”) and young staffers and interns packed the room, applauding and cheering with every call to action. 

Ms. magazine has inspired generations of women, feminist activists, and movements – and it’s not over by any means. Ms. executive editor Spillar said, “Men in particular keep thinking, ‘Isn’t it getting old? Isn’t it receding?’ I say to them, ‘As long as sex isn’t getting old, neither is abortion.’”

Happy 50th to Ms., and here’s to another 50 years of groundbreaking journalism and empowered women!

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