Our Basis of Unity

We are in the process of reviewing and updating our Basis of Unity to best reflect our work and values as of 2022. Please stay tuned for an undated version arriving soon. SMA's Basis of Unity is developed by staff, board members, members and participants through a collective, collaborative process based on consensus building. If you are a member or participant and wish to be a part of the Basis of Unity renewal in 2022 please email [email protected]

Intersectionality: Intersectional Feminist Frameworks (IFFs) aims to foster understanding of the many circumstances that combine with discriminatory social practices to produce and sustain inequality and exclusion. SMA practises awareness of integrating world views and knowledge that have historically been marginalized. We employ tools for analysis that consider the complexities of women’s lives, and ensure policy analysis is centred on the lives of those most marginalized.  

Intersectional self-reflection: We understand that women’s varying histories have created many social identities, which place them in different positions of hierarchical power. The road to being more inclusive and naming intersecting systems of inequality isn’t easy when we are all working within hierarchical systems of power. Therefore, we value intersectional self-reflection as we carry out strivings and work together towards social change so that we are aware of how we are all caught up in systems of power and privilege.

Accountability: Every mother involved in SMA upholds the highest standard of accountability, in our fiscal operations, and all that we do; we are honest, careful, and responsible for all that we say and do in our total management of SMA. 

Confidentiality: As we work together, we share details and sensitive information about our lives, and our children, and others share their life experiences with us. We operate SMA in a culture of unwavering trust. We never gossip; it is not our right to share personal information any SMA mother brings to a meeting as we conduct our work, or in any other context where we are carrying out the work of SMA. SMA has a privacy policy in place which can be read here.  

Respect: We operate with respect towards each other, and all those with whom we dialogue regarding our advocacy work. We have respect for our own boundaries, and the boundaries of others.

Kindness: We are kind and gentle towards ourselves, our children, other mothers, and those we work with externally as we carry out our work.

Honesty: We value and practise honesty in all that we say and do within SMA, and as SMA.

Safe space: We uphold non-violent communication and action in every facet of the organization. We have zero tolerance for abusive speech or behaviour within the organization, by anyone, to anyone, at any time. We ensure policies and procedures are in place to ensure we have effective conflict resolution mechanisms in place.

Refrain from harmful gossip: All members of SMA will try to control harmful gossip, at any time, and when conflict occurs between anyone in SMA, including making accusations about members to other members instead of bringing issues they may have ‘to light’ in a whole group context for fair discussion. If one or more members are experiencing that another member or members is gossiping about issues that have with anything to do with SMA, those members must bring the issue to the whole group for open discussion.   

Issues Must Be Brought Forward: If any member of SMA, staff or board members have an issue with anything regarding the operations of SMA, or anything else, we expect they bring that issue to the whole group at an appropriate time for reasonable discussion and problem solving. SMA must take their concerns seriously, and provide an opportunity for the whole group to learn about the issue, share their perspective and thoughts, and address the issue directly. This includes issues regarding lateral violence and racism, and challenges we may face as we all work from a deeply intersectional framework. 

Zero Tolerance for Discrimination: SMA upholds a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination and racism of any kind, on the part of anyone in SMA, around SMA, or associated with SMA.  

Zero Tolerance for Derogatory Statements: SMA upholds zero tolerance for derogatory comments from any SMA member, collaborator, funder, allied organization, or anyone working with or alongside SMA. If a derogatory statement is uttered towards anyone, based on their particular identity, or for any other reason, it is grounds for dismissal from SMA, and whatever role they may have, such as membership withdrawal, returning of funds donated to SMA from that individual, and termination of a collaborative relationship. Further to this, SMA upholds zero tolerance for derogatory statements based on race and cultural identity, and gender. 

Tact: We practise tactful communications at all times, within SMA, and as SMA, to all audiences, and all those with whom we wish to dialogue as a collective voice, always.  

Active listening: Practising active listening allows us to not just listen effectively, but to hear each other, and our children.

Collaboration: We seek to work collaboratively in all that we do; working together well, we thrive together.

Openness: We remain open to all and practise non-judgement.

Equal voice: All have an equal right to speak. We will self-check to ensure we are not contributing more than is our share, or less, due to lack of appropriate opportunity. We strive to ensure everyone who wants to speak up does so in a safe and inclusive space.

Constructive feedback: We practise constructive feedback. Constructive feedback shall be offered when the recipient has made clear they are ready and willing to hear feedback, at an appropriate time and place. Feedback will be delivered with tact, gentleness and kindness, in hopes of contributing to building capacity in a fellow SMA organizer.

Capacity-building: SMA seeks to provide opportunities for all members and participants to gain personal and professional skills at every opportunity as we all engage with SMA. We seek to build our collective and individual capacity at every opportunity.

Work-life balance: We are aware of the pressures and stressors we may experience as single mothers often raising our children in the context of poverty and hardship, and the extra labour of working together towards change. We strive not to over-work and overburden ourselves as we carry out the work of the SMA. We encourage each SMA mother in our network to pursue and secure the necessary stress-relief support each of us needs individually so that we may flourish. We seek to recognize signs of burnout and stress in ourselves, and practise self care.

Self-awareness: We strive to achieve full awareness of the impact of our own moods, motivations, and ways of communicating on all those we work and interact with as we carry out the work of the SMA.

Celebration: We value celebrating our community, our work, each other, our children, and our inspiration for change, whenever and however we can.

Thank you to all members for practising and upholding our Basis of Unity.