Women's March Unity Principles
OVERVIEW & PURPOSE
Recognizing that women have intersecting identities and are therefore impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues, we have outlined a representative vision for a government that is based on the principles of liberty and justice for all. As Dr. King said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
Our liberation is bound in each other’s. The Women’s March includes leaders of organizations and communities that have been building the foundation for social progress for generations. We welcome vibrant collaboration and honor the legacy of the movements before us – the suffragists and abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement, the American Indian Movement, Occupy Wall Street, Marriage Equality, Black Lives Matter, and more, by employing a decentralized, leader-full structure and focusing on an ambitious, fundamental and comprehensive agenda.
We are empowered by the legions of revolutionary leaders who paved the way for us to march, and acknowledge those around the globe who fight for our freedoms. We honor these women and so many more. They are #WHYWEMARCH.
VALUES & PRINCIPLES
- We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. This is the basic and original tenet for which we unite to march.
- We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice. We must create a society in which all women—including Black women, Indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
- Women have the right to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies. One in three women have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime; and one in five women have been raped. Further, each year, thousands of women and girls, particularly Black, Indigenous and transgender women and girls, are kidnapped, trafficked, or worse. We honor the lives of those women who were taken before their time and we affirm that we work for a day when all forms of violence against women are eliminated.
- We believe in accountability and justice for police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color and Indigenous peoples. Women of color and Indigenous women are killed in police custody at greater rates, and are more likely to be sexually assaulted by police, and women with disabilities are disproportionately likely to experience use of force at the hands of police, and sexual assault in general. We also call for an immediate end to arming police with military grade weapons and military tactics that are wreaking havoc on communities of color and sovereign tribal lands. No woman or mother should have to fear that her loved ones will be harmed at the hands of those sworn to protect.
- We believe it is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system. The rate of imprisonment has grown faster for women than men, increasing by 700% since 1980, and the majority of women in prison have a child under the age of 18. Incarcerated women also face a high rate of violence and sexual assault. We are committed to ensuring access to gender-responsive programming and dedicated healthcare including substance abuse treatment, mental and maternal health services for women in prison. We believe in the promise of restorative justice and alternatives to incarceration. We are also committed to disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline that prioritizes incarceration over education by systematically funneling our children—particularly children of color, queer and trans youth, children in foster care, and girls—into the justice system.
- We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education. We understand that we can only have reproductive justice when reproductive health care is accessible to all people regardless of income, location or education.
- We believe in Gender Justice. We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes. We must free ourselves and our society from the institution of awarding power, agency and resources disproportionately to masculinity to the exclusion of others.
- We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans, two-spirit or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. This includes access to non-judgmental, comprehensive healthcare with no exceptions or limitations; access to name and gender changes on identity documents; full anti-discrimination protections; access to education, employment, housing and benefits; and an end to police and state violence.
- We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity. We believe that creating workforce opportunities that reduce discrimination against women and mothers allow economies to thrive. Nations and industries that support and invest in caregiving and basic workplace protections—including benefits like paid family leave, access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, fair pay, vacation time, and healthy work environments—have shown growth and increased capacity.
- We believe in equal pay for equal work and the right of all women to be paid equitably. We must end the pay and hiring discrimination that women, particularly mothers, women of color, Indigenous women, lesbian, queer and trans women still face each day in our nation, as well as discrimination again workers with disabilities, who can currently legally be paid less than federal minimum wage. Many mothers have always worked and in our modern labor force; and women are now 50% of all family breadwinners. We stand for the 82% of women who become moms, particularly moms of color, being paid, judged, and treated fairly. Equal pay for equal work will lift families out of poverty and boost our nation’s economy.
- We recognize that women of color and Indigenous women carry the heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape, particularly in the care economy. We further affirm that all care work—caring for the elderly, caring for the chronically ill, caring for children and supporting independence for people with disabilities—is work, and that the burden of care falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women, particularly women of color. We stand for the rights, dignity, and fair treatment of all unpaid and paid caregivers. We must repair and replace the systemic disparities that permeate caregiving at every level of society.
- We believe that all workers—including domestic and farm workers—must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our labor protections, and we stand in full solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement. We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.
- We believe Civil Rights are our birthright. Our Constitutional government establishes a framework to provide and expand rights and freedoms—not restrict them. To this end, we must protect and restore all Constitutionally-mandated rights to all our citizens, including voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation or harassment, freedom of speech, and protections for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age. We honor and respect tribal laws and jurisdictions.
- We support Indigenous women’s right to access, own, develop and control land and its resources. We affirm that now is the time for U.S. implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to honor existing treaty rights and fulfill promises made.
- We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with disabilities and deaf women. As mothers, sisters, daughters, and contributing members of this great nation, we seek to break barriers to access, inclusion, independence, and the full enjoyment of citizenship at home and around the world. We strive to be fully included in and contribute to all aspects of American life, economy, and culture.
- We believe it is time for an all-inclusive Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Most Americans believe the Constitution guarantees equal rights, but it does not. The 14th Amendment has been undermined by courts and cannot produce real equity on the basis of race and/or sex. And in a true democracy, each citizen’s vote should count equally. All Americans deserve equality guarantees in the Constitution that cannot be taken away or disregarded, recognizing the reality that inequalities intersect, interconnect and overlap.
- Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. It is our moral duty to keep families together and empower all aspiring Americans to fully participate in, and contribute to, our economy and society. We reject mass deportation, family detention, violations of due process and violence against queer and trans migrants. Immigration reform must establish a roadmap to citizenship, and provide equal opportunities and workplace protections for all. We recognize that the call to action to love our neighbor is not limited to the United States, because there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.
- We believe that every person, every community and Indigenous peoples in our nation have the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. We believe that our environment and our climate must be protected, and that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed—especially at the risk of public safety and health.
- We recognize that to achieve any of the goals outlined within this statement, we must work together to end war and live in peace with our sisters and brothers around the world. Ending war means a cessation to the direct and indirect aggression caused by the war economy and the concentration of power in the hands of a wealthy elite who use political, social, and economic systems to safeguard and expand their power.
ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
The guiding vision and definition of principles were prepared by a broad and diverse group of leaders. The Women’s March on Washington is grateful to all contributors, listed and unlisted, for their dedication in shaping this agenda.
Bob Alotta, Executive Director, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Monifa Bandele, Vice President, MomsRising
Zahra Billoo, Council on American Islamic Relations – San Francisco Bay Area
Gaylynn Burroughs, Director of Policy & Research, Feminist Majority Foundation
Melanie L. Campbell, Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, President & CEO, NCBCP
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Interim Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Alida Garcia, Immigrant Rights & Diversity Advocate
Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Indigenous Women Rise Collective
Carol Jenkins, Board of Directors, ERA Coalition
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, President, Incite Unlimited, LLC
Carol Joyner, Director, Labor Project for Working Families, Family Values @ Work
Janet Mock, Activist and author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty
Jessica Neuwirth, President, ERA Coalition
Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women (NOW)
Carmen Perez, Executive Director, The Gathering for Justice
Jody Rabhan, Director of Washington Operations, National Coucnil of Jewish Women
Kelley Robinson, Deputy National Organizing Director, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and Co-Founder, MomsRising
Linda Sarsour, Founder, MPower Change
Heidi L. Sieck, Co-Founder/CEO, #VOTEPROCHOICE
Emily Tisch Sussman, Campaign Director, Center for American Progress
Jennifer Tucker, Senior Policy Advisor, Black Women’s Roundtable
Winnie Wong, Activist, Organizer and Co-Founder, People for Bernie