These principles were collaboratively written by WEA’s founding circle of 30 women and continue to guide our work today:
1. We are committed to the protection, conservation and regeneration of our Mother Earth and all of her species;
2. Sustainability, defined as “the ability to provide for the needs of the world’s current population without damaging the ability of future generations to provide for themselves” is an organizing principle that directs our actions in favor of the health of each other and the planet;
3. Our network is founded upon, and rooted in, a participatory democracy framework where we include the voices of all and maintain a horizontal flow of information;
4. We recognize the wisdom of indigenous peoples and honor the traditional knowledge to which we are all bound;
5. We, as women, work to empower and support each other to become more dynamic and collaborative leaders;
6. The shift towards a more sustainable world needs to occur on a global scale. This change requires that actions be initiated and supported at the local level;
7. We believe that networking, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing is critical to our success as a global village;
8. We value the leadership of younger generations of women, and commit to educating and supporting the development of their fullest potential as responsible citizens and environmental stewards;
9. We believe that the key to peace is recognizing and honoring the interconnection of social, environmental and economic justice.
We focus on building respectful relationships as the foundation of our work. Relationships are the dynamic and evolving sites where we enact all our commitments to equity, justice and accountability. We strive to establish and maintain trust within all our relationships. We do this by being consistent and transparent in our actions and processes, listening deeply and speaking truthfully, continually engaging feedback from our partners, and acknowledging our common humanity.
We acknowledge that legacies of power structures such as race and class privilege are deeply embedded in all of our lives, and we strive to identify and uproot historic patterns of oppression where they show up in our thinking, planning and actions. With compassion, we hold ourselves and each another accountable to addressing the impacts of our intersecting privileges as they play out.
We recognize that communities and peoples impacted by the intersecting legacies of colonialism and capitalism possess experience-based, collectively-held knowledge around resisting injustice, promoting resilience, and sparking transformation. We prioritize community-based knowledge as a primary source of healing and solutions for our global society. We strive to learn from this knowledge, invest in its application, and build a platform for it to be widely shared.
We commit to observing proper, region-specific protocol when we engage with women leaders and groups in the course of our work. Through consultation, humility and continual learning and self-reflection, we strive to build our competency to effectively and respectfully engage in cross-cultural collaboration. We work to engage in an appropriate way both with communities local to us, and communities in other regions.
We commit to authentically supporting women’s leadership, especially Indigenous women, women of color, young women, elders, low income women, and women who represent front-line and impacted communities. To do this, we strive to support women leaders to have direct access to resources, information, decision-making opportunities, and communication platforms that can empower their leadership and work.
We commit to implement anti-oppression principles in our communications. We commit to rigorously acknowledging the sources of any information and ideas that we share with others, precisely articulating the parameters and limits of our roles in our collaborations when we communicate about those ventures, and publicly recognizing and uplifting our partners’ leadership, expertise and contributions. We always request and obtain permission before publicly distributing photographs or quotations of our partners.
We commit to build transparency within our systems and processes. As we design and implement program functions, build and manage relationships, manage information, and engage support for our work, we integrate feedback and oversight from colleagues representing the communities and peoples we aim to support.
We thank the following organizations and sources for informing the above principles:
smartMeme: The Center for Story-Based Strategy
Rainforest Action Network
The Peoples’ Institute for Survival and Beyond
The Ally Bill of Responsibilities by Dr. Lynn Gehl