Today is Women's Global Strike, a movement that calls for gender equality around the globe, and Sinergia's women are stopping for the day. Women are underrepresented in leadership roles in all sectors, including in the non-profit sector. We believe it is also our duty to change this situation and we want to lead by example. As an organization that prefers concrete action to vague promises, we are doing our part.
Sinergia Animal was founded by a woman and is proud of having 6 out 7 of our leadership roles staffed by women and an 80% female team overall, composed mostly of Latinas and Asian women. A core part of our mission is to help develop the potential of these brave female activists in the Global South. We believe when we empower women, creating an environment in which they are the protagonists, not only do they gain, but their communities and animals also do.
Of all supporters from animal rights groups, 75% are women, so, right now, the truth is that we are the ones mostly carrying the movement. So while this statistic demonstrates the urgency of better policies for women (trans women included) within the animal rights movement, women's demands and opinions should be respected even if there was only one woman. It's a matter of social justice, simply put. And what are animal rights if not a matter of social justice?
Prejudice, violence, and oppression often overlap, as they have a common origin and follow the same logic: objectifying and alienating has long been a strategy that helped powerful groups to oppress and violate others. In our society, in which there is an inherent need to generate profit to keep the game going, a mass of people, animals, and nature are seen simply as resources, things, instruments to optimize profits and wealth for a small part of the population, no matter how destructive and unfair this is.
We don't believe we can end one type of oppression without holding hands with other movements and working together, supporting each other and addressing the main cause of oppression instead of its symptoms.
Today (as we do in all other days) we're joining forces with the women's movement to demand for us all the same freedom, respect and empathy we ask for animals every day. This, of course, includes trans women. We demand that organizations:
Pay equal salaries for women in the same positions as men. It's hard to believe we still have to fight for this in 2020;
that their teams have diversity and inclusion of women of different ethnicities, origins, nationality, race, native language, especially from the Global South (Latin America, Africa and Asia), as well as transgender women and people of different orientations and gender identities, different backgrounds such as religion and faith, or social backgrounds, different ages, fat women and women with disabilities;
When working in other countries, notably countries of the Global South, consider that the rules for people in these places might not be consistent, and as a result of this, one priority for HR departments should always be women's safety, with special attention to LGBTQI+ women;
Have more women in leadership roles, including top leadership, and women from different backgrounds;
Have a healthier workplace for women, an environment in which women's opinions are heard and respected, independently of their job position, and involves them in decision-making processes, fostering cooperation, not competition, between women;
Believe in women. It's essential that organizations start taking reports of sexual harassment and abuse seriously, with proper procedures to investigate the claims while keeping women involved safe and with a stable job, and procedures to punish all persons that commit this type of misconduct. Also, reports that are not exactly sexual harassment and abuse, but that are implicitly sexist (for example, a male boss who puts women down, never considers their opinions or input, overcriticizes their work, etc), must be considered too;
Develop work conditions that consider maternity needs… And paternity too, since we don't make babies alone and it's time for men to be accountable for their children and share home duties equally;
Start having mostly women speaking in events, conferences, webinars, training events, calls, etc. Basically, wherever you can add a woman, do it. Those conference tables filled with men are a shame for a movement that consists basically of women. We're ready to take the stage;
Stop objectifying and sexualizing women as a strategy for advocacy campaigns. Animal rights NGOs cannot be perpetrators of oppression of any kind and need to be accountable, understanding the harmful impact that hypersexualization and the exploitation of women’s sexuality have on young girls and women;
Stop using fatphobia and body-shaming as a strategy to promote veganism, and create a movement that is inclusive of fat women;
Support (local) feminist grassroots movements, their own demands and actions, as well as we would expect feminist movements to support our animal advocacy demands. Sinergia, for example, will allow its female employees to dedicate 2h per week of their paid work time to feminist causes and projects;
Encourage a model of veganism that empowers smallholder farmer women and familiar agriculture, supports their access to land, resources and credit, labor rights and healthy work conditions. On the other hand, veganism should also consider food sovereignty and autonomy, and propose healthy diets that are affordable for families, especially vulnerable ones;
Actively address the link between animal agriculture, climate change and how this will drastically affect women more than anyone else. Water and food scarcity, war and civil conflicts and diseases have always had a harsher impact on the most vulnerable populations, especially women throughout much of the Global South, since they are primarily responsible for obtaining resources for their family — and that often the resources' distribution is gendered.