In December 1971, abortion was illegal in 30 states, even in cases of rape or incest or threats to mothers’ lives. Women had limited access to credit cards in their own names. Spousal rape was legal and Harvard, among other Ivy League universities, would not admit female students.
With progress anything but assured, the time seemed ripe to push the feminist envelope. So a group of prominent female writers and activists launched a new magazine to do just that, unabashedly declaring their goals with a cover cartoon declaring “Wonder Woman for President” and articles about wages for housewives, body hair as the last frontier and the women’s vote.
Since that issue appeared as an insert in New York magazine, it wasn’t clear how much traction such a boldly feminist magazine would gain. But when Ms.hit the newsstands as a stand-alone publication – with an open letter signed by 53 women acknowledging their own abortions – its 300,000 copies sold out in just eight days and generated 26,000 subscription orders.
Half a century later, 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution celebrates that brazen act of independence in a collection of articles demonstrating how much we have progressed in five decades — and reminding us how far we must still go.
The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Cultural Center proudly helps launch that volume with:
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Executive Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Ms. as well as a regular contributor whose work appears in the 50 Years of Ms. collection. She is also a lawyer, advocate and frequent writer on issues of gender, feminism and politics. Jen is the author of Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity and the Executive Director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center at NYU Law.
Abigail E. Disney, philanthropist and social activist who advocates for real changes to the way capitalism operates in today’s world. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Chair and Co-Founder of Level Forward and creator of Peace is Loud and the Daphne Foundation.
Monday, December 4, 2023 | 6:30 PM Eastern