The Women’s March Policy Platform Takes on Gendered and Racialized Rules

January 17, 2017

The Women’s March on Washington has released an incredibly bold and progressive policy platform that lays out a clear vision for a fairer and more inclusive future. In taking on such a wide slate of policy issues, the platform acknowledges that the rules of our society and our economy are, at their core, deeply gendered and racialized, and they must be rewritten if we are ever to achieve equity for women.

The platform is built on the basic premise that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights. It calls for the end to violence against women and calls out the disproportionate violence that black, indigenous, and transgender women and girls face. It calls for accountability and justice for police brutality and racial profiling, and for the dismantling of racial and gender inequities in the criminal justice system. It is unapologetic in its commitment to reproductive justice, demanding that all individuals should have access to “safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.” It calls for the expansion and protection of rights to LGBTQIA communities.

The March agenda demands transparency, accountability, security, and equity in our economic system, not only for the good of individuals, but for the economy more broadly:

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, health care, fair pay, vacation time, and healthy work environments—have a shown growth and increased capacity.

It calls for equal pay for equal work, for the recognition that women of color carry the “heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape” and particularly in the caring economy. It reaffirms the value of care work and demands the fulfillment of rights, dignity, and fair treatment of those who care for our families.

It regards civil rights as a birthright of all, arguing for the passage of an all-inclusive Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It calls for the fulfillment of immigrant rights and rejects “mass deportation, family detention violations of due process, and violence against queer and trans migrants.” And it asserts the right of all individuals to clean water, clear air, and access to public spaces.

In the wake of the recent presidential election, many have argued for abandoning identity politics in favor of focusing exclusively on economic issues. But as the March organizers remind us, there is no economic justice without gender and racial justice.

In response to this broad and bold agenda, some will surely ask why the March cannot focus exclusively on “women’s issues?” The answer is that there is no such thing as a women’s issue that isn’t also touched by race, immigration status, sexuality, the environment, and our broken economic system. Racism, sexism, xenophobia, and discrimination of all kinds exist in a tightly woven web. Achieving justice for all will require unwinding all—not just one—of those threads. As the platform articulates, “Our liberation is bound in each other’s.”

The inclusive and visionary platform put forth by the March is precisely what is needed in response to a political moment that seriously threatens women’s health, safety, and economic security, and particularly those of women of color, immigrant women, and individuals in the LGBTQIA community.