Dame Helen Mirren FTW.



This Week in Women: Birth Control & The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

A dash of humor goes a long way these days, combating the angsty headlines that keep us in a state of perpetual anxiety. This week we are delighting in Keep Birth Control Copay Free’s new video and Dame Helen Mirren’s commencement speech. Get inspired—it’s time for This Week in Women!

Ellen Ochoa Inducted Into U.S. Astronaut Hall Of Fame

Ellen Ochoa has been making history since 1990, when she was selected to attend NASA’s Johnson Space Center as an astronaut candidate. Since joining the team in Houston, Ochoa has been to space four times and climbed in the ranks to be named Director of the Space Center.

Ochoa’s remarkable achievements also include receiving the Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, as well as being named the second female director in the center’s history, and its first Hispanic director. To put a shiny cherry on her career, this week she was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall Of Fame.

“I’m honored to be recognized among generations of astronauts who were at the forefront of exploring our universe for the benefit of humankind,” Ochoa said in an official statement. “I hope to continue to inspire our nation’s youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math so they, too, may reach for the stars.”

Comedians Join Forces For Keep Birth Control Copay Free PSA

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA / “Obamacare”), 55 million women are able to purchase birth control with no co-pay. The United States is seeing statistics dropping for unplanned pregnancies and the country is saving billions of dollars by empowering women with birth control access.

But with Paul Ryan and Trump’s new American Healthcare Act, tens of millions of women are at risk for losing their access to copay-free birth control. The organization Keep Birth Control Copay Free aims to raise public awareness of this pending health crisis through many mediums, and one of its finest productions is this new video voiced by Rachel Dratch, Desi Lydic, Franchesca Ramsey, and H. Jon Benjamin.

“Some people want to get rid of copay-free birth control,” says the narrator. “I bet they wouldn’t screw with it if they could get pregnant.”

[The camera then cuts to some adorable illustrative cut-outs of a seriously pregnant Trump and cohorts next to a pack of pills.]

The repercussions are serious for women, and Keep Birth Control Copay Free points out that the cost of birth control could increase by as much as $1,100 per individual if Washington legislators do away with free birth control. The organization’s website also shares that “75% of voters think male politicians would support copay-free birth control if they could get pregnant.”

Let’s just get straight to the point: enough of the double standards.

Helen Mirren’s Commencement Speech to Grads at Tulane

When Dame Helen Mirren shows up to give an inspirational talk, you better believe that she’s going to bring it… with a side of naughty jokes. Case in point? The Academy Award-winning actress’s delivery of her Keynote Speech at Tulane University’s commencement.

Mirren regaled graduates with her witty rhetoric and managed to artfully include some shade at “old, rather grumpy, rich white men” for trying to decide the fate of our nation’s healthcare.

“No matter what sex you are, or race, be a feminist. In every country and culture that I have visited, from Sweden to Uganda, from Singapore to Mali, it is clear that when women are given respect, and the ability and freedom to pursue their personal dreams and ambitions, life improves for everyone,” said Mirren. “I didn’t define myself as a feminist until quite recently but I had always lived like a feminist and believed in the obvious: that women were as capable and as energetic and as inspiring as men. But to join a movement called feminism seemed too didactic, too political. However, I have come to understand that feminism is not an abstract idea but a necessity if we—and really by ‘we,’ I mean you guys—are to move us forward and not backward into ignorance and fearful jealousy. So now I am a declared feminist and I would encourage you to be the same.”

Images via Amazing Girls Science and HelloGiggles

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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