FIE TIG Week: Building intersectional, feminist communities by Melissa Chapman 

This week of AEA365 is written by members of the Feminist Issues in Evaluation (FIE) TIG. The posts center on the theme of building intersectional feminism into the future of the TIG. This theme was sparked by the 2023 AEA Conference theme, The Power of Story.

Hello from the Feminist Issues in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (FIE TIG)!

I’m Melissa Chapman, the Program Chair for the Feminist Issues in Evaluation TIG and Director of Evaluation at a public health evaluation consulting firm (PDA) based in Minneapolis, MN.

The FIE TIG is sponsoring this week’s blog posts to coincide with International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th. For more than a century March 8 has been recognized as a day to celebrate and raise awareness to further women’s equity and human rights initiatives. It’s a day and a movement intended to belong to everyone – Gloria Steinem said, “the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

Collective action is sorely needed right now. There have been many challenges during the past few years. The stress of the pandemic, jobs, schools, family responsibilities…volunteering for a TIG (or anything else) has been a bit tough. In 2023, the FIE TIG is trying to build opportunities to build communities around enthusiasm for intersectional, feminist thought and principles to be deepened and elevated in evaluation theory and practice.

We are starved for genuine, trusting spaces to build community. We all need it! In January 2022, the FIE TIG gathered folks to start discussing the TIG community and named values that can inform the development of principles to guide our future paths of intersectional feminism. Here are some quotes from the January 2022 meeting to the prompt: Tell about a time you’ve felt like you were part of a community.

  • “I like the prompt and is also challenging to answer because it’s been sorely lacking with the pandemic. Realizing things that are missing in personal experience.”
  • “There should be shared responsibility for the space; people in positions of power are not the only ones that have power. We are all responsible for the health and wellness of that space, for community ownership and buy-in.”
  • “What is a community that I consider myself a part of? All examples coming to me are things where I have gone to a group or place for a particular purpose, but then my involvement goes beyond that… With feminism and women, I’m a strong advocate for women, plus and going beyond the gender binary. In my feminist practice womanist involves anyone who is not a cis-man. Any that fall on the oppressed side of the patriarchy.”
  • “A community based on the same values will probably be more sustainable and more enjoyable to be a part of.”

What are Feminist Issues in Evaluation TIG values that you would like to see elevated?

Word cloud showing that the most commonly mentioned themes were inclusion, intersectionality, intersection, social justice, and equity.
   Word cloud generated during the January 2023 FIE TIG gathering

We are actively welcoming change and broader participation in our TIG this year – reach out to the TIG leadership if you’d like to be part of future meetings.

Rad Resources

  • One way to celebrate IWD is to view and support the Hershey Canada campaign in support of IWD, which is receiving both support and backlash for elevating transgender woman Fae Johnstone.
  • The IWD website has further information on the 2023 theme, resources, a toolkit, and fundraising opportunities.
  • The FIE TIG will start a book circle in April, with both synchronous and asynchronous engagement. If you are curious or possibly interested in participating, consider weighing in on a book to start with by going here. If you would like to receive communications on this, please contact the FIE TIG Program Chair, Melissa Chapman Haynes.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Feminist Issues in Evaluation (FIE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the FIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our FIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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