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FIE TIG Week: Feminist Issues in Evaluation TIG Week by Elyse McCall-Thomas and Melissa Chapman Haynes

This is Elyse McCall-Thomas and Melissa Chapman Haynes, Program Chair and Co-Chair of the Feminist Issues in Evaluation (FIE) TIG. The FIE TIG is sponsoring this week’s blog posts to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th. The topics for this week’s posts include reflections on being a feminist evaluator, the evaluator’s role in preventing hate crimes, the integration of a sex, gender and intersectionality lens in government evaluations, an example of female engineering student’s project assessment from the gender lens, and evaluation at a crossroads and the choice of who we want to be and how we think.

Some inspiration for this week of posts came from the 16 proposals we had originally accepted for AEA’s 2020 Annual Meeting; however, the virtual format required us to pare that down to two. We invited the authors of the 16 originally accepted proposals to submit to this week’s set of posts.

We were also inspired by our TIG’s annual business meeting on October 28, 2020, where we first invited submissions to this week’s posts. We asked our attendees to answer the following question: What words do you most associate with feminist issues in evaluation?

Word cloud with equity in the center.

During the meeting we also discussed possibilities for future FIE TIG opportunities and events to share and learn more about feminist evaluation including hosting a book club and networking events throughout the year. We were inspired by these ideas, which included: 

  • Discuss COVID and how the pandemic has impacted your practice
  • Engage in more creative collaborations between TIGs
  • Host learning events throughout the years, including book clubs, happy hours, reading suggestions, or an online discussion forum. 

We acknowledge how difficult it is for many of us to engage in these types of learning activities, given the pandemic, …AND there is still work to do. 

  • A recent article by Pew Research Center found some interesting and concerning trends in public perception of the status of women’s rights. 
  • Brookings published a recent article about how COVID-19 has been especially harmful for working women in the United States and how we have an opportunity now to rethink policy, processes, and priorities.
  • The Lancet summarized how COVID-19 is impacting women across the world, including the large number of women working in the informal economy who were impacted, heightened risk of partner violence, and care for children not in school or learning virtually.

We were inspired by these great ideas and invite you to consult the FIE TIG website in the next few weeks to learn more about these opportunities. We will also be reaching out via email to the FIE TIG membership about future opportunities to engage with other feminist evaluators.  

Rad Resources:

Sharon Brisolara, Denise Seigart, and Saumitra SenGupta, Feminist Evaluation and Research: Theory and Practice

Donna Podems, Feminist Evaluation and Gender Approaches: There’s a Difference?. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation.  

New Directions in Evaluation, Special Issue: Feminist Evaluation: Explorations and Experiences 


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@eval.org. 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.

3 thoughts on “FIE TIG Week: Feminist Issues in Evaluation TIG Week by Elyse McCall-Thomas and Melissa Chapman Haynes”

  1. Kathleen O'Neill


    Thank you for your article and contribution to the discussion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the Evaluation Community. I found the “word cloud” generated by your attendees very interesting. I appreciate the mention of “difficult questions” in the word cloud. I think this is something that evaluators must be cognisant of when embarking on a discussion or teaching DEI in evaluation. It is worth acknowledging that difficult or new questions about race, gender identity, sexuality and inclusion will come up. And it is imperative that program evaluators are prepared to answer these within context. That means, there is a responsibility on program evaluators to have DEI training. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that. Do you know of any DEI trainings available to program evaluators?

    I like your initiative of a feminist book club or happy hour for informal platforms for like minded evaluators to take part in discourse and learn from one another. 

    Thank you for your article, again. 


    1. Melissa Chapman Haynes

      Thank you so much for your note and reflections, Kathleen! If you are not part of AEA’s FIE TIG, I hope you become a member so that you can receive our upcoming communications about opportunities for engagement. I agree there is a responsibility on evaluators to engage in DEI training as well as continuous engagement and reflection on our role and responsibility and power in dismantling the patriarchy, white supremacy, and other heteronormative ideology and other systems of oppression. There are some good AEA resources, AEA365 blogs, as well as many, many resources and trainings…I think it’s important to start. We hope that future FIE events can also provide more frequent spaces for these discussions. Libby Smith holds a monthly group that I’ve just started attending and it’s really great. Vidhya mentions it in her post later this week.

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