President Biden took action on gun violence. Women fought for those reforms

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Utah requires biological fathers to split prenatal care and birth costs, Australia responds to months of sexual harassment scandals, and women fought for yesterday’s executive action on gun reform.

– Call to action. Yesterday, President Joe Biden took executive action on the “epidemic” of gun violence. It’s a moment that wouldn’t have arrived without the tireless, years-long work of gun control activists—many of them women.

More than almost any other national movement (barring #MeToo), the fight against gun violence has been women-led. From Emma Gonzalez and the students of Parkland; to Shannon Watts and Moms Demand Action; to Rep. Lucy McBath and the Black women fighting against gun violence and police violence; to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, women have been the ones making sure lawmakers couldn’t kick gun reform down their to-do lists.

The measures Biden announced this week are relatively modest—limited by what executive action can accomplish, as Congress remains unlikely to pass significant reform on the issue. But the Democratic administration committed to reviewing policy around “ghost guns,” or guns that can be assembled from parts and lack serial numbers and to further regulating pistols that can turn into short-barreled rifles. Biden called on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and close the “boyfriend loophole,” preventing people convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms.

“These much-needed executive actions will start saving lives right away,” says Watts. She founded Moms Demand Action, an anti-gun violence organization, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. In an interview with Fortune last summer, she said, “This is a women-led movement. Women … who help decide elections support this issue.”

The gun violence prevention organization led by Giffords, who has been an activist on the issue since she was shot and critically injured during a constituent event a decade ago, yesterday announced it would recognize the 40,000 Americans who die due to gun violence every year via an exhibit at the National Mall.

Giffords attended the ceremony during which Biden announced his plans. “Together,” she said afterwards, “we will protect our country from gun violence.”

Emma Hinchliffe

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Equal pay(ment). A new law in Utah requires biological fathers to pay half of a mother's medical costs related to pregnancy and delivery, from prenatal care to the cost of a hospital birth. The law doesn't require biological fathers to pay for costs related to an abortion. BBC 

- Better late than never. Sexual harassment and assault scandals have roiled the Australian government for two months. Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday agreed to accept more than 50 recommendations from Australia's sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins. Well before the current scandals began, her report recommended providing more education on the issue in schools and ending exemptions for judges and members of Parliament from sex discrimination law. Guardian

- Drink up. Initial studies have shown that a mother vaccinated against COVID-19 may pass on antibodies via her breast milk. In response to that news, some women are trying to restart breastfeeding while other nursing moms are sharing milk with friends' babies and children. New York Times

- Prize-winning work. Torrey Peters, author of the buzzy novel Detransition, Baby is nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction, the U.K. literary award. Peters is a trans woman—an identity central to the plot and themes of her debut novel. Peters's nomination led to transphobic attacks, from hate speech directed at her to people who questioned whether she should be nominated. Peters talks in this interview about how those responses robbed her of the "purity of recognition" any writer nominated for a prize would want. Vulture

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Following the failed appointment of Alexi McCammond as editor-in-chief, Teen Vogue promoted Danielle Kwateng to executive editor.


- PM's problems. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan this week blamed a rise in rape cases on how women dress, saying, "If you keep on increasing vulgarity, it will have consequences." His comments have sparked outrage across the country; his office says the comments have been "distorted to mean something that he never intended." New York Times

- Chipped away. A global shortage of semiconductor chips has caught up with the Mary Barra-led GM, which will halt production at three more North American factories. The shortage is affecting automakers around the world, as well as other industries. Wall Street Journal

- Shake-up in Singapore. Singapore's line of prime minister succession got a shake-up yesterday when the heir apparent, deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat, issued a surprise announcement that he plans to step down. His departure will give Singapore a change to prove its commitment to diversity and could elevate the profile of Indranee Rajah, one of three women in the 20-member Cabinet who could be tapped for finance minister. Bloomberg 


Dolly Parton collab crashes ice cream brand Jeni's site AdAge

How #MeToo changed Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s new Hemingway docuseries Slate

Greta Thunberg's happy crusade The New Yorker


"Now, I have the impression that there’s been a leap forward."

-Sandra Muller, the founder of France's #MeToo, or #balancetonporc, movement. Muller faced a defamation suit after her 2017 activism, but throughout 2021, several powerful French men have been confronted with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. 

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