FIE TIG Week: Reflections on being a feminist evaluator. Also, an invitation to others to be one because we ALL have what it takes by Divya Bheda

Hello! I am Dr. Divya Bheda, you can find more about me here, and I am a feminist and an evaluator—i.e., a feminist evaluator. Over the last decade of being one, I often revisit what being a feminist evaluator means to me. Today, I thought I would share my current perspective with you.

I am a feminist evaluator because:

1. I work from a critical feminist epistemological perspective built heavily on womxn of color theorizing that centers standpoint and lived experience, affirms subjectivity over objectivity, interrogates the matrices of domination, power, and privilege imposed on us, amongst us, and within us (as human beings, intergenerationally) by interdependent, interwoven, and interactive, hegemonic, oppressive systems and forces such as patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism, colonization, ablism, ageism, heteronormativity, racism, classism, religion, etc. to name just a few, and privileges the intersectional, insider-outsider knowledge, perspective, scholarship, and identity.

2.     I am a JEDI warrior. In every space–personal and professional I am working to advance Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) with courage and vulnerability, in solidarity, with humility, and often at a daily cost to myself. I keep trying to find subversive, creative, and catalyzing ways to challenges the status quo within myself, in my personal and professional relationships, and within systemic and institutional spaces. I disrupt silencing and reimagine centering in everything I do. I utilize and deploy various evaluation and/or methodological frameworks/templates as needed to live my values.

3.     I prioritize relationships and caring, even as I explore and undertake restorative and transformative ways to learn, teach, and practice. I work from a place of love, hope and mindfulness, trust, and truth, and try to prioritize nature and the environment, people over performance, and humanity over materialism. I am nourished by generative networks, communities, and authentic friendships such as the one we have created within the Feminist Issues in Evaluation TIG where I can bring my full, whole, unapologetic self into a nurturing, constructive space. Please contact smithlib@uwstout.edu or kathleendoll101@gmail.com if you want to join our space where we work to dismantle and unshackle ourselves from imposed and normalized ideals of perfectionism, activism, allyship, and ways of being that are unconsciously based on white, western, patriarchal, and colonized notions of how to be in this world.

4. I am powerful. I am enough. I am a phoenix, and I am tough. Without the societal rules, obligations, norms, rituals, and expectations imposed on us (again, as human beings) in seen and unseen ways using various cultural, sexualized, gendered, nationalized, and anti-matriarchal practices, and tools of exploitation and subjugation, I am and I can be.

Lessons Learned:

Lessons learned outlined in a diagram. "I have agency and voice...I will constantly fight to expose and overcome my internalized oppression...Conflict  is inevitable and ubiquitous..."

Hot Tip:

We all need feminists in our life to make a difference in our ways of being, work, and practice; to make a positive impact in the field of evaluation. Find your fellow feminist evaluators. We need feminists within and beyond evaluation. And yes, you do NOT have to be a womxn to be a feminist or a feminist evaluator. How else can we expect our feminist evaluation practice grow?!

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.

2 thoughts on “FIE TIG Week: Reflections on being a feminist evaluator. Also, an invitation to others to be one because we ALL have what it takes by Divya Bheda”

  1. I found this a well thought post, and appreciated the references to other resources. The JEDI warrior really resonated with me, as we need that across our work, and I also valued the way you made used the first person and made this down-to-earth real by relating it to your person. Thank you, Divya.

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