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About Ruth Rosen

Ruth Rosen is a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle, and Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Social Change. Her most recent book is The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America

Articles by Ruth Rosen

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

US Presidential race: the feminist generation gap

Why is there strong support for Bernie Sanders from young feminists and a tepid response to Hillary Rodham Clinton, a lifelong feminist? Why has a feminist generational gap emerged in 2016?      

"We will not be beaten"

It's twenty years since the US Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act which right-wing conservatives targeted as subversive, but which helped ignite a global movement against all kinds of violence against women and girls.

Free speech: another weapon in the war against abortion in the US

In a dramatic turn of events last week, the US Supreme Court overturned a 2007 law that separated and protected women who sought abortions and health care from the zealots who intimated and threatened them.

The invisible war: Sexual assault in the American military

Thousands of soldiers, mostly women, have been the victims of rape and sexual assault in the American military. Politicians and the Pentagon are worried about the growing epidemic of this behaviour. All twenty women Senators decided “enough was enough”

What will it take to end violence against women?

Twenty years after the United Nations declared violence against women to be a violation of their human rights, we are still a long way from gender violence becoming unacceptable in a society 

US: why Women's History Month?

Every generation of little girls and women needs to learn its past so that it can imagine a future in which gender equality is the norm and not the exception. As part of openDemocracy's International Women's Day series, Ruth Rosen argues that it is still necessary to have a token month every year devoted to women's lives

The war against contraception: “Women need to be liberated from their libidos."

The new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires all health plans to pay for contraception. Some religious organizations and corporations are so angry that they have taken their case to the US Supreme Court.

US Republicans and their “Female Troubles”

As the 2014 midterm elections loom on the horizon, American Republicans fear they may lose a sizable female vote because they have spent the last eight years vilifying women and voting against their major concerns.

The war on women: The newly invisible and undeserving poor in America

The U.S. Congress is fighting over how much to cut food assistance to needy families. Everyone knows that women and their children are the poorest people in America, but strangely, the faces of women have disappeared from the debate and have been absorbed into abstract “needy families.” 

Why the relentless assault on abortion in the United States?

Americans have grown more supportive of same-sex marriages, gun control, immigration reform and even taxes on the wealthiest individuals.  Why, then, have the cultural and political wars over abortion accelerated?

Women and the language of peace protest

In January 1968, young feminist antiwar activists in the U.S temporarily broke with a long tradition of protesting war as mothers. At an all-women’s protest against the Vietnam War, they symbolically buried “Traditional Womanhood” and claimed the right to protest as independent citizens.  Does it matter what language women use to protest war ?

The modesty wars: women and the Hasidim in Brooklyn

The recent cultural wars between the Orthodox Jewish Hasidim in Brooklyn, New York and their neighbours are really about women’s appropriate role in their families and communities, as well as youthful rebellion among the Hasidim,says Ruth Rosen

Gender wars: women redefining customs as crimes

The social movements of the 60s gave American women the skills to name and address the injuries they faced in their own lives, and led to a global women’s movement that is now facing a violent backlash. We need to know this history in order to fight for women’s rights today 

US Presidential debate: America’s national insecurity

What would a real national security look like? This debate on foreign policy never really took place last night. For starters, we would protect human rights and civil liberties, here and abroad. The gradual evisceration of our civil liberties makes America less safe, not more secure, says Ruth Rosen

President Obama: “It’s not true.”

The real surprise was that President Obama explained why so-called "women's issues" are everyone's issues - college students, health care, medicare, social security and equal pay for women and men. He reminded people that women are more than the sum of their reproductive organs; they are workers and family members

Women are the key to the presidential debate and election

In round two of the presidential debates, Biden might have done a better job than Obama of exposing the salesmanship of the Romney-Ryan campaign, but he did little to regain lost ground with respect to women voters.

US Presidential debate: who cares most about ordinary Americans?

At stake, are two visions of the so-called American Dream.  One emphasizes government and people helping each other, and the other insists that individuals are on their own. Ruth Rosen reports on last night's US Presidential debate

Voter suppression: the "Schurick Doctrine" and the unravelling of American democracy

Republicans across the United States have passed a spate of voter suppression laws aimed at those most likely to vote for Obama. They are specifically targeting African American women who, in the past, created a gender gap that decisively elected Democratic presidents. America needs immediate international monitoring of its presidential election, says Ruth Rosen

Who said “We could have it all?”

What Anne-Marie Slaughter and so many other privileged women have failed to understand is that the original women’s movement sought an economic and social revolution that would create equality at home and at the workplace, says Ruth Rosen

The 'Obamacare' challenge to American individualism

Why don't Americans want universal health care ? And what is it about American political culture that causes the uninsured, the poor and the ill, to accept the status quo? Ruth Rosen reports

The gender gap and the American presidential election

Will the gender gap that decisively helped Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win the presidency again? Only if women remember who waged the 'war against women', against their economic equality and against their reproductive rights, says Ruth Rosen  

Contraception: the new American soap opera

The war over contraception in America during the last bizarre month was never about religious freedom or women’s health care. It was about controlling women’s right to control their own bodies and to make their own sexual and reproductive choices, says Ruth Rosen

Occupy: you can’t evict an idea

The Occupy movement has changed the national conversation in America, and challenged the rightward tilt of the political landscape with its clear message that wealth inequality is incompatible with democracy, says Ruth Rosen

US Election 2010: Obama lost the terms of debate and a large segment of white women

The modern women's movement changed the terms of debate and eventually the national conversation. During this electoral cycle, Obama, Democrats and progressives alike have failed to define and then proudly grab the terms of debate.

The Tea Party and the new right-wing Christian feminism

Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party would have far less appeal to voters who are frightened by economic insecurity, threats to moral purity and the gradual disappearance of a national white Christian culture.

Why do Americans love Sarah Palin?

Why does America take Palin seriously? The answer lies in gender politics, and in the history of right-wing populism. That populism is at its strongest at a time of social anxiety.

American women's stimulus: voice, agency, change

The test of Barack Obama's economic-recovery plan will be the degree to which women workers' interests and needs are put at its heart, says Ruth Rosen.

America's election: Daddy's swagger vs Mommy's care

The mid-term political earthquake in the United States was a vote against a macho politics of fear, says Ruth Rosen.

The world will long wonder what took the American people so long to realise that George W Bush, the swaggering, macho, faux rancher from Texas, was an incompetent and dangerous man who threatened the democratic foundations and moral credibility of the United States.

The answer, I believe, can be summed up in one word: fear.

South Dakota, sexual politics, and the American elections

The abortion referendum in South Dakota is only one of the neglected issues affecting the daily lives of American women, minorities and working families, says Ruth Rosen.
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