The statement, produced by the CEOs and Directors of second-tier women’s organisations, acknowledges that now is a critical point in time to address racism, with the global spotlight on racial violence and structural inequality following the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition, the recent public allegations of structural racism within the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector has prompted the group to speak together now.
As organisations working to end violence against women and girls, we can’t truly fight for women’s human rights and social justice without ending the endemic racism within our sector, as sexist violence and racist violence are deeply interwoven. Yet the sector is reproducing the structural inequalities experienced by Black and minoritised women.
“We are acutely aware that the issue of racism within our sector is not peculiar to one organisation, it is endemic and it has been left unchecked for decades,” the group said. “It has dismantled much of the independent Black and minoritised women’s sector and reduced specialist services available to women and girls who need them and have the right to access them.”
The CEOs call upon organisations within our sector to support the newly launched VAWG Anti-Racism Charter – the only charter supported by Black and minoritised women and girls’ organisations.
“We call upon our sector to listen to and hear the voices and concerns raised by black women, and to acknowledge the need for self-reflection amongst those of us who enjoy the freedoms and privileges bestowed upon as white women and to take a step forward on a journey of transformation,” the CEOs said.
Silence is collusion and a key element of abuse. Now is a critical moment in time when racism can no longer be ignored or tolerated in the VAWG sector. In particular, white-led organisations must commit to reflection and action to dismantle the endemic racism within the sector.
The CEOs are calling for the VAWG sector to:
- support the VAWG Anti-Racism Charter
listen to and hear the voices and concerns raised by Black women
- honour the founding principles of solidarity and social justice and equity by reviewing approaches to collaboration and partnerships with Black and minoritised women’s organisations
- choose not to compete for grants and contracts which are specific in area and/or specialism that is not yours
- support Black and minoritised women’s organisations to sustain their independent provision by opening the gates held closed to decision and policy makers
step back and share the power you hold