Updating Feminist Values
Some phrases are so overused they almost lose their meaning —like “feminist values.”
But at NOW, this isn’t a platitude – it’s our North Star. It’s essential that we reaffirm the core beliefs that encompass our feminist values and what we want those values to convey to others.
As NOW celebrates our 55th anniversary, we need to acknowledge that the feminist ideals of the 1960s and 1970s aren’t enough; they must be made more inclusive so we are creating a more welcoming and safer environment for all our members. As champions for equality, we are only true feminists if our activism is also anti-racist. It’s essential that NOW employ racial equity and gender equity lenses in all our work. The times we live in demand it—and so do our members.
That’s why NOW works so hard to influence legislation so that it rejects the systems that enable and perpetuate racial injustice, toxic masculinity, misogyny, and other infringements on women’s rights.
We were proud to honor Kimberlé Crenshaw with NOW’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and she spoke of how inclusivity and racial justice are the guideposts for our new map of feminist values. In case you missed it, here’s Crenshaw’s original University of Chicago Legal Forum article from 1989, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.”
We also recognized Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, for her work spotlighting racism as a root cause of health inequities. Here’s a video of Dr. Crear-Perry discussing bias in maternal health care in the U.S.—where Black women are three times more likely than white women to die during and after childbirth.
Gender equity, racial justice, honest history, centering diverse voices. This is what we mean when we talk about feminist values today. They are matters of life and death, and they apply to all of us.