Women in French is a professional organization based on shared values and beliefs.
As expressed in our Statement against Racial Violence, we recognize interlocking systems of oppression that are endemic to white supremacy and capitalism in North America and around the globe. We are committed to valuing all people and to dismantling anti-Black racism, anti-Asian hatred, transphobia, misogyny, homophobia, bio-essentialism, xenophobia, islamophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism, heteronormativity, and settler colonialism. The strategy of dividing and conquering those among us with less power has long been a strategy of dominant cultures. We reject such divisions and seek solidarity and collaborators in the ongoing struggle for equality.
As stated in our bylaws, WIF’s mission since 1977 has been to “promote research on women writing in French, on women in literature and culture of French expression, and other domains of feminist literary criticism.” As such, WIF has been, from its inception, an organization alert to the misogyny embedded in the many patriarchal institutions with which our members are affiliated. But we, too, have more work to do. Our domain, the field of French and Francophone Studies has to grapple with its own structural Euro-centric, white-centered, racist and xenophobic history. As scholars, researchers, and teachers we commit to practicing the values we state here in our pedagogy, our scholarship, and our profession. We acknowledge that a statement of values is never enough. The work of creating academic spaces that are inclusive and respectful of all who join them, and expanding what is studied in our classrooms to be more inclusive of the wide range of perspectives found throughout the French-speaking world is ongoing and requires sustained engagement and commitment. We acknowledge that this work, along with the effort to amplify the voices of those who are silenced is difficult, ongoing, and will not be achieved overnight.
It is part of our mission to practice the values we state here in our research, scholarship, and professions. Our work to uplift and uncover the voices of women, especially those women who face intersecting forms of oppression, must be persistent.
We recognize the need to match our words with actions as we move in our academic and larger communities. On our campuses and in the communities in which we live and work, we are committed to working to dismantle all forms of oppression.
We issue a call to action to our colleagues to identify opportunities in our spheres of influence as teachers, scholars, public intellectuals, administrators, and community members to identify and end forms of oppression. We acknowledge that the root causes of prejudice are the desire for power: getting and maintaining power and resources. We commit to amplifying, supporting, and valorizing the voices of those with less power and influence.
WIF endorses the Statement and Call to Action in Support of Trans and Nonbinary People produced by the DDFC (Diversity, Decolonization, and the French Curriculum Collective).
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Statement against racist violence
As intersectional feminists, WIF embraces the dignity and human rights of all and condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and other acts of racist, white supremacist violence that plague the United States. These recent manifestations of police brutality are evidence of the legacy of racial injustice in this country, and we are devastated by the senseless loss of Black lives. We also acknowledge and denounce subtle forms of racist violence that result in economic disparities and inequalities in access to healthcare, which have again become apparent in the current covid-19 pandemic. As advocates of free speech, human rights, and historical documentation, we also decry impingements on free speech and recent attacks on journalists, and specifically journalists of color, that reduce coverage of this racist tragedy.
WIF expresses full support of our Black colleagues and students as well as all people of color in our communities both in and outside of higher education. We stand in solidarity with the global protests rebuking racial injustice in the United States, in francophone countries, and across the globe. We share this statement from WIF’s board of directors in response to the vacuum of leadership at the federal level whose silence enables the violent actions of police to perpetuate institutional racism and inequality.
WIF’s membership reflects the diversity of the francophone world, and our organization is committed to creating an inclusive space.
For our Black members and members of color: We see you, we hear you, we support and stand with you as allies.
For our white members: There is an active role to play that includes listening, standing in solidarity, and taking actions against structural inequalities so that we can be part of the solution and stop being part of the problem.
For all our members: We encourage our members to act locally as well as on the regional, national, and international levels, and engage in their communities by contacting representatives, organizing direct action, volunteering with organizations committed to ending racism and contributing financially when possible to prevent future tragedies of racial injustice. As an organization, we aim to continue and to amplify our efforts in our teaching, research, and service to study and deconstruct racial hierarchies by highlighting the work of critical race and ethnic studies in our field in order to create change and affirm the humanity of all. As educators, we are an essential part of preparing young people for a future that finally delivers on the promises of liberty and equality for all that are written in our country’s founding documents.
Recognition of Academic Labor
WIF endorses the Statement on COVID-19 and Academic Labor produced by the MLA (Modern Language Association).
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In total, 149 organizations have signed onto the statement.
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