Op-Ed; Opinion

A Basic Income Women Action Group Statement

April 28, 2015

A Basic Income Women Action Group

Statement Prepared by

Liane Gale, Ann Withorn and Kristine Osbakken

Inspired by conversations and presentations at the 2015 North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress in NYC


  1. The broad goal of the group is to connect women within the Basic Income movement, and also to connect with women of other economic/social/environmental justice activist groups, where people are mindful of the dignity of all people and the planet. We are committed to exposing the problems within current economic, political and social systems, to questioning these systems from a women’s point of view and to arguing for Basic Income as a vital avenue towards systemic change. Group members are also committed to contributing to a healthy community, connecting and interacting with each other based on solidarity and compassion.


  1. Support for a Women Action Group within the Basic Income movement draws from both historical and contemporary sources. Martin Luther King wrote in 1967: “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most revolutionary. The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed annual income”. The history of the U.S. Welfare Rights movement also reminds us that poor women and their allies recognized a “Guaranteed Adequate Income” as their welfare plan, particularly to eliminate sexism from welfare, with National Welfare Rights Organization leader Johnnie Tillmon affirming in 1972 “the right to a living wage for women’s work, [is] the right to life itself”. And today, activist men from across the world have joined the call. Here is globalist Nafeez Ahmed: “If we want to save the planet, patriarchy must die. That means recognizing and taking responsibility for the fact that patriarchy is integral to the structures of power we take for granted, across East and West. There’s no time to waste. If misogyny wins, the planet dies.”
  1. Action Items.  We propose several general avenues for how a Women Action Group can come together as part of the full Basic Income movement. We seek further discussions and refinement regarding these proposals from all sections of the movement.


The Basic Income Women Action Group will:


  • Connect with women already active in the Basic Income movement, both nationally and internationally, for the sake of building stronger networks and solidarity;
  • Promote the staging of forums in venues that will examine Basic Income through a gender lens — and introduce this perspective within all public discussions of Basic Income;
  • Serve as a nexus for informing people about the existing literature and activist resources on Basic Income and women;
  • Support the writing of open letters asking international, national, state and local organizations and movements to discuss and endorse Basic Income, especially in regard to its immense potential to positively affect all women and their families;
  • Support initiatives that promote gender parity within Basic Income organizations such as NABIG and BIEN, especially in regard to events that are the “public face” of our movement.
  • Support pro-Basic Income policy campaigns. When possible, we would also like to offer coordinated support for women candidates and those leaders, who are working toward a Basic Income at any political level.

We seek suggestions and reactions from all, but also specifically encourage comments and ideas from those who are already connected with the Basic Income movement.

Feel free to join or to contact any of us in the Basic Income Women Action Group:

Liane Gale, liane.gale@gmail.com (Roseville, MN));

Ann Withorn, withorn.ann@gmail.com (Boston, MA);

Kristine Osbakken, krissosbakken@gmail.com (Duluth, MN).

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 971 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • danielle hinderliter

    i support this ideal and would like to help make it a reality. can middle and low imcome class families start to inveat in automated factory work ourselves instead of 401ks and other worthless investment stocks?

  • We need a definite legal definition for “Basic Income”. Please, no more wishy-washy promises that politicians can make before the election then wiggle out of once the election is over.

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