OVERVIEW & PURPOSE
The Women's March on London is a women-led movement that brought together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds on January 21, 2017, to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination.
Now, as we look to the immediate future, we are devising launching new initiatives to further demonstrate our shared commitment to this message.
Recognising that women have intersecting identities and are therefore impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues.
With great thanks to our friends marching in Washington who have shared their guiding principles with us, we have outlined a representative vision for a UK government that is based on the principles of liberty and justice for all.
Our liberation is bound in each other’s. The Women’s March on London includes organisations and communities that have been building the foundation for social progress for generations. We welcome vibrant collaboration and honour the legacy of the movements before us - the suffragists and abolitionists, the trade unionists, the feminist movement, the gay rights movement, anti-poll tax, anti-austerity, anti-war, support for refugees and migrants, environmental rights, anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia and more – by employing a decentralised, leader-full structure and focusing on an ambitious, fundamental and comprehensive agenda.
- Jo Cox
We are empowered by the legions of revolutionary leaders and ancestors 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 #WHYWEMARCHLONDON
• Jo Cox • Hande Kader • Women Against Pit Closures • Elizabeth Garrett Anderson •
Erin Pizzey • Rosie Boycott • Marsha Rowe • Pragna Patel • Malala Yousafzai • Valerie Wise
• Millicent Fawcett • Sandra Cabrera • Emily Wilding Davison • Chelsea Manning • Audre Lorde • Mary Wollstonecraft • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie• Adelaide Casely-Hayford •
Edith Summerskill • Sarah Reed • Cherry Groce • Christine Case • Jackie Nanyonjo
• Cynthia Jarrett • Joy Gardner •
We march and organise as there is a Herstory of significant disadvantage and complex needs surrounding women and girls in the UK, especially from Black and POC communities - who are among the most powerless, marginalised and disadvantaged in society. We must fight for justice.
OUR 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 from which all our values stem.
● We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice. We must create a society in which all women — including Black women, working class women, young women, disabled women, immigrant women, incarcerated women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
● Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of violence against our bodies and minds. In the UK one in four women have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate male partner within their lifetime; two women a week are murdered by a current or former partner. Further, each year, thousands of women and girls, particularly women of colour, migrants and transgender women and girls, are kidnapped, trafficked, or murdered. 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, ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color. We also call for an immediate end to the arming police with the military grade weapons and military tactics that are wreaking havoc on communities of color and we call the end to the use of private security companies in our prisons, detention centres and deportations at airports. No woman or mother should have to fear that her loved ones will be harmed at the hands of those sworn to protect. No woman or mother should fear being sexually and physically abused at the hands of the State.
● We believe it is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system. In 2014 black people made up 10% of the total prison population, while making up 3.5% of the UK’s total population. There is a greater disparity between the proportion of black people in prison and in the general population than there is in the US. We note a significant increase in police related deaths involving people suffering mental illness or in some form of mental health crisis. Incarcerated women face a high rate of violence and sexual assault in prisons and detention centres. 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 prioritises incarceration over education by systematically funnelling our children—particularly children of colour, queer and trans youth, foster care children, and girls—into the justice system.
● We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept 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 equal access to full services l for all people, regardless of income, location or education. We understand that we can only have reproductive justice when access to 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 break down the narrow standards of respectable Black womanhood and femininity deemed acceptable.
● 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 or gender non-conforming sisters, brothers 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 antidiscrimination 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, holiday pay, and healthy work environments—have shown growth and increased capacity. We must divest from corporations that make profits from extractivism - supported by our UK government - leading to the death, incarceration and abuse of environmental and women human rights defenders in the Global South.
● 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, lesbian, queer and trans women still face each day in our country. Equal pay for equal work will lift families out of poverty and boost our the UK’s economy.
● We recognise that women of colour 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 colour. 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 organise and fight for a better living minimum wage, the removal of zero hour contracts, and that unions and other labour associations are not eroded further by Governments as they are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our labour protections, and we stand in solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement. We recognise that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.
● We believe Human Rights are our birthright. Our government must establish a framework to provide and expand rights and freedoms–not restrict them. To this end, we must protect and restore all the 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 or disability.
● We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with physical and mental disabilities and Deaf women. As mothers, sisters, daughters, and contributing citizens, we seek to break barriers to access, inclusion, independence, and the full enjoyment of citizenship at home and around the world. We recognise that 23 per cent of inpatient admissions were from a BAME background and that BAME are six times higher than average, to experience discrimination within the mental health system. People from BAME groups are more likely than white British people to be detained compulsorily under mental health legislation or put in seclusion. We note that austerity driven benefit sanctions against people with mental health problems have risen by 600% over the past four years.
● 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 them to fully participate in, and contribute to, our economy and society. We reject mass deportation, family detention, violations of due process and violence against LGBTQ and trans migrants. Immigration reform must establish a roadmap to citizenship, and provide equal opportunities and workplace protections for all. We recognise that the call to action to love our neighbor is not limited to this country, because there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.
- Audre Lorde
● We believe that every person and every community in our country has 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.
Text for the Women's March on London shaped by:
Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert, Activist and Feminist, Sociology lecturer and researcher in the politics of food, gender, social change and race. Organiser with Black Lives Matter UK.
Chardine Taylor-Stone, Cultural producer, writer, educator and feminist activist. Founder of Black Girls Picnic and Stop Rainbow Racism.
Kayza Rose, Co-founder of BlackOutLDN, Organiser with Black Girls Picnic, UK Black Pride and Black Lives Matter UK. Filmmaker and Events producer
Natalie Jeffers, Founder/Director of Matters of the Earth. Organiser with BLMUK and Black Lives Matter Network. Intersectional social justice organiser, educator and engagement for action specialist.
Natasha Nkonde, Activist and Black feminist, regional organiser of Edgefund. Organiser with Black Lives Matter UK.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Co-founder, trustee and executive director of UK Black Pride.