Back in 1996 Florida NOW held a retreat where we codified ethics of communication that we promised to live by for the good of the group. We had them on hand at each meeting. 

Here are the first five points to share with others.

A Feminist Perspective on the Ethics of Communication

1)   Personal agendas are valid and need to be communicated to develop a primary, open agenda. Secrecy of purpose creates dishonest, unethical communication.

2)   There is a devious process taught to all of us undermining a women’s being and actions to invalidate her point of view. The basic problem is prejudice against women. The solution is for the target to be assertive and for the perpetrators to raise their consciousness by developing respect for positive traits and learning to judge on the basis of actions and beliefs, not appearance or in-group politics.

3)   Losing site of the goal by excluding and diverting opinions results in no consensus, no commitment and no action. Seizing on a fragment of an issue and making it central to discussion, deflects the attempts of others to express their thoughts on the main issue.

4)   We should encourage the expression of many viewpoints, be supportive of the right to express a different viewpoint, recognize the group is stronger for diversity and be inclusive of the woman expressing it.

5)   Members need to recognize others who are not speaking, who have made several attempts and not been heard, or who have been cut off.  All viewpoints need to be heard.

Modified by the Florida State Council Retreat April 26, 1997
Toni Van Pelt Florida NOW president
Origin-Kit Evans – Exec. Dir. AWAKE AUGUST, 1980

This article has been reposted with permission by Kathryn Mitchell,