The birth rate in the United States is now the lowest on record, and that’s not surprising to anyone who has a child or is contemplating having one. The costs and time required are out of reach for many of us. And when we do have kids, we face an impossible crunch of the double day—a day of work and then another day of unpaid work at home.
In the book Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work, coming March 1, 2019, National Women’s Liberation organizer Jenny Brown argues that we can change this if we understand how they did it in other countries that have free childcare, years of paid leave, child allowances, free health care, shorter work hours, and more.
The answer is in our spontaneous birth strike. In other countries like Sweden and France, when the birth rate went down, governments got going on providing resources to make parenting easier.
But here in the U.S., we aren’t yet aware of the potential power contained in our declining birth rate. We want to spread this understanding so we can win the following important advances for women’s equality and freedom, for starters:
- Paid family leave – at least 6 months and for both parents
- Universal childcare (free like the public schools)
- Guaranteed healthcare for all
- Shorter work hours for all
Where will the money go?
It’s not enough to have a book sit on a shelf. We’re raising money to create a study guide and to take our ideas on the road. We want women to get together to talk about the ideas in the book and how their personal experiences intersect with today's political realities. The guide will help organizers create consciousness-raising groups and plan creative actions like speakouts or strikes.
We’re also organizing speaking engagements in ten cities. The money will go toward travel expenses for Jenny and select organizers as they raise our demands across the country. We've already been invited to speak in Atlanta, New Haven, and Gainesville. Help build a new feminist offensive around the unpaid labor we do every day and add more cities to this list.
Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women's Work
- Introduction ... 1
- 1. International Comparisons ... 15
- 2. Small Government, Big Families ... 29
- 3. Is It a Birth Strike? Women Testify ... 42
- 4. Comstockery to the Baby Boom ... 60
- 5. Population Panic to the Baby Bust ... 70
- 6. Longevity: Crisis or Blessing? ... 81
- 7. Immigration: “Instant Adults”... 95
- 8. Reproduction and Race ... 104
- 9. Cheap Labor ... 120
- 10. Cannon Fodder (The Military) ... 133
- 11. Controlling the Means of Reproduction ... 143
In addition to the book, Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight Over Women's Work (240 pages, published by PM Press, see cover above), backers at levels $35 and above will receive a collection of radical feminist buttons and stickers from the National Women's Liberation and Redstockings archives, plus a brand new "Ask Me About the Birth Strike" button designed just for Kickstarter backers.
What is National Women's Liberation?
National Women’s Liberation is a feminist group for women who want to fight back against male supremacy and win more freedom for women. We believe that change comes about from the actions of everyday people—not politicians, the courts, lobbyists, or the media. The freedoms we have now were won by movements of women, organizing and fighting for change. Men did not become less sexist or decide to give women the vote or legalize birth control because of our individual abilities to reason with them, educate them, or because they love us so much. The inequalities between women and men are political problems that require a collective solution.
We aim to build an organization of feminist organizers to bring new fire to the fight for our liberation. We are funded by the dues of women, not corporations or their foundations.
We study and address how racism and white supremacy are barriers to Women’s Liberation, and we understand that the leadership and participation of women of color is critical to the success of the women’s liberation movement. In our Women of Color Caucus, women of color meet separately from white women to better understand how white supremacy intersects with other forms of oppression.
National Women's Liberation comes from a collaboration between organizers from Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement (NY) and Gainesville (FL) Women’s Liberation starting in 1968. Redstockings is a radical feminist think tank and one of the original groups of the 1960s Women’s Liberation Movement in New York City. Gainesville Women's Liberation is the first women’s liberation group in the South, founded in 1968. This collaboration continues today.
What is Redstockings?
"Redstockings" was a name taken in 1969 by one of the founding women's liberation groups of the 1960's to represent the union of two traditions: the "bluestocking" label disparagingly pinned on feminists of earlier centuries — and "red" for revolution.
Redstockings today is a new kind of grassroots, activist "think tank," established by movement veterans, for defending and advancing the women's liberation agenda. The Archives for Action is a project Redstockings established in 1989 to make the formative and radical 1960's experience of the movement more widely available for the taking stock needed for new understandings and improved strategies.
In 2019, Redstockings celebrates its 50th anniversary. Watch for events!
Risks and challenges
The book already has a publisher (PM Press) with a scheduled release date in March. Due to the nature of publishing, there could be a delay in the final print date for the books, however it won’t hold the project back. The study guide is ready to go, we just need your support to put it into production. Additional funds will be allocated to the cost of travel and lodging for the book tour. We’re in the process of compiling a list of possible stops, and depending on the number of cities and final budget, we may not be able to visit every city to which we’re invited. Donate at any level to receive updates on final book tour dates and locations. Thanks for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)