Talking Points for Feminist GA (FemGA)
Who are we? WOW is Women Occupying Wall Street, a caucus of OWS that includes women and female-identified people and their allies of any gender. WOW works for gender justice and an end to gendered violence both inside and outside Occupy.
What we’re doing: Igniting a new, inclusive movement for gender justice in New York. Bringing together a broad range of groups and individuals to talk about shared values, goals, and actions.
Why a “Feminist” GA? There are lots of definitions of feminism. Some people reject the word altogether. That’s something the GA is grappling with. But we decided to use the word because we believe *feminism*powerfully sums up a worldview: one that rejects the domination of one ngroup by another, be they men, the wealthy, or well-armed nations.
Isn’t feminism old hat? We honor our history and want to correct its mistakes. If feminist movements in the past have been marred by racism or homophobia, we are committed to the doing the hard work of creating a diverse and inclusive movement.
What does this have to do with Occupy Wall Street? The Feminist GA goes far beyond OWS. But we understand the vital role of gender justice to Occupy’s vision of an economically just, democratic society that promotes the well being of everyone, not just the 1 Percent.
Why now? There’s a War on Women— attacks against everything from reproductive rights to equal pay—and sexism, homophobia and transphobia persist (N. Carolina just became the 30th state to ban same-sex marriage).
What’s next? That’s up to the people gathered here. We’re hoping for more GAs that help to create and maintain powerful, diverse coalitions for gender justice.
Some facts (from U.S. Census unless otherwise indicated):
- Women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Cutbacks to the public sector workforce hit women hardest.
- 31 percent of single-woman-headed households are poor—more for African-American and Hispanic families. More than a third of the poor are children.
- 13 percent of women over 65 live in poverty, compared to 6 percent of men.
- 24 percent of lesbian and bisexual women ages of 18 to 44 are living in poverty, compared with 19 percent of heterosexual women (National Survey of Family Growth). 22 to 64 percent of transgender people report earning less than $25,000 per year (sample surveys, 2010).