Feminists in Struggle is proud to adopt the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights in its entirety. We are in full support of the Declaration, released earlier this month, which reaffirms the rights enumerated in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which the UN adopted in 1979, and which the United States has yet to ratify, though 189 countries have done so. We wish to encourage all feminists and feminist organizations to press for the ratification of CEDAW, which has been referred to as an international bill of rights for women and to support the Declaration by going to the website and signing on. No time like the present during March, Women’s History Month!
The preamble to the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights reads as follows:
“On the re-affirmation of women’s sex-based rights, including women’s rights to physical and reproductive integrity, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls that result from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity’, and from ‘surrogate’ motherhood and related practices.”
FIST very much supports this declaration and would urge individuals and organizations to sign it at:
Feminists In Struggle urges all supporters of feminism and of democracy to support Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter in their continuing fight to preserve spaces for natal women alone. According to VRR, gender activists have now convinced the city to discriminate against women in the name of inclusivity. In the defense of their woman-only policy they raise some interesting comparisons to indigenous, ethnic, disability and other struggles. In their statement they note that many grants by the city of Vancouver are given to other organizations that serve other specific groups, but that “rightfully, none of these groups have been challenged with the demand that they demonstrate “accommodation, welcomeness and openness to people of all ages, abilities… and ethnicities,” as it would undermine their mission. However, this is precisely what they are doing in the case of VRR. The Vancouver City Council is ignoring previous court decisions affirming VRR’s right to offer some services to only natal females and attempting to force them to change this policy. For more information on what has happened, go to their statement.
This International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019 marks the launch of a unique national grassroots network of radical feminists, Feminists in Struggle. We are unique because we are member-run, member-funded, and with a vision that draws inspiration from generations of feminists that came before us. Our foremothers a century ago won the vote and the eight hour work day. Women in the Second Wave won abortion rights and got very close to winning the Equal Rights Amendment. Feminists succeeded in opening up higher education and many jobs and professions previously closed to women. These were long, hard struggles with many obstacles along the way. But they persisted and they won.
It is time to do it once again. We females are half the population. It is time to exercise our collective muscle–the power of sisterhood–to roll back the attacks from multiple quarters that aim to reverse the gains we won during the past half century. It is time to rebuild a movement for female liberation that will defend our right to our own spaces, programs, and organizations, fight for access to legal abortion, defend lesbian rights, preserve laws prohibiting sex discrimination, finish the job of winning the ERA, and end violence against women. We need a movement that will go all the way this time, and dismantle the patriarchal male-supremacist system that oppresses us. We can’t be erased if we organize and speak out together as one voice!
If you believe like we do that the time for political organizing and collective action is NOW and you want to make herstory together fighting to defend the rights of women and girls, PLEASE JOIN US! As suffragist Christabel Pankhurst declared, “Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us.”
Feminists in Struggle (“FIST”) is a national female-only radical feminist network, democratically run, and composed of individuals born female and affiliated female-only feminist organizations. We aim to bring together women from diverse radical and revolutionary feminist traditions. FIST welcomes women of every racial, ethnic, and class background, all ages and abilities/disabilities, whether lesbian, heterosexual or bisexual, who share a common set of feminist principles (see below). We are committed to organizing a serious fight-back against the attacks on our rights from multiple quarters.
- We affirm that women and girls are oppressed based on our biological sex, i.e., the female capacity to bear and birth children.
- We fight for all females, not just the privileged few, and oppose not just male supremacy but also white supremacy and class hierarchy.
- We are gender role abolitionists seeking an end to socially-imposed roles based on sex that enforce male supremacy.
- We demand an end to all forms of discrimination and harassment based on sex, including the wage gap and de-facto job segregation. Pass the Equal Rights Amendment now!
- We fight to end racism and the system of white supremacy that oppresses women of color.
- We struggle against all forms of male violence against women whether it takes place in the home, on the street, at work, or in colleges or universities.
- We work for the abolition of prostitution and pornography; we support the criminalization of traffickers, pimps, and sex buyers and the decriminalization of prostituted women and girls (“Nordic Model”).
- We support complete sovereignty over our bodies and reproductive lives, including free unimpeded access to safe, legal abortion and birth control and no forced sterilization.
- We defend our fundamental right to female-only spaces, programs and organizations that allow us to collectively resist our sex-based oppression against serious challenges by forces within the transgender movement.
- We call for free childcare, paid parental leave, and other community supports needed to end the double day and empower women to live independent lives. Fund human needs, not war.
- We demand an end to discrimination and stigma against lesbians and other women who have intimate relationships with women.
- We reject any alliances or collaboration with the male supremacist religious Right or the white supremacist, anti-immigrant Right.
- While the mission of FIST is to build a women’s liberation movement to oppose that which oppresses women because of male supremacy, we recognize the existential threat that the capitalist-induced climate crisis and risk of nuclear war pose not only to the possibility of women’s liberation, but to the whole of humanity, and life on this planet.
For the full unabridged principles, see the “Principles” page. https://feministstruggle.org/principles/
The first women’s rights convention in the U.S. called by women met in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, over 170 years ago now. The five women who organized the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary McClintock, Martha Coffin Wright, and Jane Hunt were all abolitionists. Their founding document, The Declaration of Sentiments, outlined 19 “abuses and usurpations” cemented in law, including the inability to own property or vote, and asserted the equality of women in private and public life including politics, education, and religion.
The woman’s suffrage movement, which focused on securing the right to vote, required women’s unflagging commitment and the endurance of hardship and abuse before women were granted the right to vote by the 19th amendment in 1920, 72 years after the convention in New York.
The Equal Rights Amendment, written by Alice Paul and originally called the Lucretia Mott Amendment, was first introduced into Congress in 1923 but was never passed. Paul rewrote it in 1943 to read: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” and it was finally passed in 1972 but has still has not been ratified by 3/4 of the states. Thirty eight states are needed to ratify the amendment so it will become part of the U.S. Constitution, and only 35 had done so up until 2017 when Nevada finally ratified it, and 2018 when Illinois finally did, leaving 1 STATE LEFT needed to ratify! The states that still need to ratify the ERA are listed below. Help us get the ERA ratified by their state legislatures!
- North Carolina
- South Carolina