Although you might want one, you won’t need a glam squad to attend Womankind’s upcoming Virtual Gala—you can join right from the comfort of your own home. Just RSVP (tickets are donate-what-you-wish) and then get ready for October 26th, when Womankind’s organizers will be honoring a few truly influential women, while celebrating the work they’ve done in the past year.
Womankind’s mission is to use the multidimensionality of its Asian heritage to work alongside survivors of gender-based violence as they build a path to healing. Read on for a letter from the organization, detailing their work, their focus, and inviting you to their upcoming event.
We’ll see you there!
Dear fellow feminists:
At Womankind, we believe that individuals have the basic human right to accessible health care and to make decisions about their own bodies. However, we continue to witness troubling legislation and policies that further limit our community members’ access to reproductive and sexual health, and deny community members’ agency in key decisions of their lives. As an organization that works to support gender-based survivors on their path to healing, reproductive justice is not separate from Womankind’s work. And so, we seek to preserve access and choice in our mission to fight gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence, a human rights issue, is harm that is inflicted on an individual or group because of their gender identity. This violence is rooted in power and control and can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial. One way this violence manifests is through the control over a survivor’s body--not allowing them to make decisions around contraception, forcing a survivor to keep an unwanted pregnancy or contracting an STI due to sexual violence. These are all ways that a survivor’s agency and self-determination are taken away from them. These exert unjust power over them.
Women of color have historically borne the brunt of many injustices, including inequities in reproductive health. In 1994, the Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice created the term "Reproductive Justice", because the movement at the time did not include an intersectional analysis that considered race, gender, class or other identities. The sole focus on freedom of choice did not consider the issue of access. For many, access is often limited or non-existent due to systemic oppression, as we have seen with immigrant women or poorer communities. The sole focus on choice did not take into account historical injustices perpetrated against women of color, from the forced sterilization of Indigenous women to the alarming rates of Black women dying from pregnancy complications, among other injustices. For the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, we continue to see the push for sex-selective legislation across the country, targeting AAPI community members. This is another avenue that lawmakers have used, in effect, to restrict access to reproductive health.
When lawmakers restrict reproductive rights and health, these barriers disproportionately impact women of color and low-income women-- the communities that Womankind serves. Our community members experience barriers to medical care: limited access to health coverage, language barriers, racism, and impacts of immigration status. We have seen this time and time again in the history of this country. We continue to see, today, the devastating and long-standing impacts such barriers have on the lives of women of color.
Womankind’s stance on reproductive and sexual health is rooted in preserving access and choice as well as protecting survivors’ agency over their bodies and lives. We do not separate out health and reproductive justice from the rights of our communities to cultivate lives free from violence of all forms.
We support equal access to reproductive and sexual health services that are holistic, in the same way we work to ensure our communities have the rights to basic needs and equal access to other resources afforded to them by the law. We advocate for services that are responsive and meet the intersectional needs of communities of color. We stand by this and will continue to do so.
If you would like to stand with us, join our online event on October 26, and be part of Communities Rising.
Find out more at www.iamwomankind.org