The first three chapters of this volume present background on feminist theory and philosophy and discuss how it can enhance and transform evaluation theory and practice. The following four chapters focus on practice, presenting case studies of feminist evaluation in action in a range of different settings: an adolescent violence protection program, a womenÂ¹s substance abuse program, a sexual health program for gay and bisexual men, and in the context of international development programs. These chapters illustrate the variety of approaches possible under the overall heading feminist evaluation. The concluding chapters directly address the question of the legitimacy of an avowedly feminist approach to evaluation and point the way to future developments.
Although feminist evaluation is sometimes criticized as being too overtly political, the fact is all evaluation has a political dimension. Evaluations and the programs being evaluated are situated in a particular political environment, and this environment as well as the gender, race, class, ability, and sexual orientation of both evaluators and those they work with have a profound impact on the process of evaluation. Feminist evaluators acknowledge these influences at the outset, and make their stance towards them explicit rather than implicit. As evaluators they are committed to accurate, effective measurement of program effectiveness, but they are also committed to a larger goal–– increased social justice for the oppressed, particularly but not exclusively women.
This is the 96th issue of the Jossey–Bass series New Directions for Evaluation.
1. Exploring Feminist Evaluation: The Ground from Which 3
We Rise (Kathryn A. Sielbeck–Bowen, Sharon Brisolara, Denise Seigart,
Camille Tischler, Elizabeth Whitmore): Key principles of feminist evaluation are introduced and discussed.
2. Gender Matters: Feminist Research in Educational
Evaluation (Wanda S. Pillow):
A historical review of feminist theory and research provides a context
for and offers critical challenges to contemporary ideas about the meanings
and intents of feminist inquiry and evaluation.
3. Feminist Evaluation and the Inclusion of Difference (Denice Ward Hood, Denice A. Cassaro):
The meanings and centrality of the concept of "difference" in feminist
evaluation are critically discussed in an interlocking systems view of
dominance and oppression. Connections are drawn to the practice of
evaluation for social change.
4. Reflections on a Job Done: Well? (Kristin J. Ward):
The challenges of implementing a feminist evaluation approach in the
context of evaluating an adolescent violence–prevention program arepresented.
Guidelines for feminist evaluation practice are analyzed and
5. Revisioning the Process: A Case Study in Feminist Program
Evaluation (Rebecca M. Beardsley, Michelle Hughes Miller):
The processes involved in feminist evaluation––including collaborative
agenda setting and cooperative teamwork––are discussed within a case
example of an evaluation of a women′s substance abuse prevention program.
6. Doing Feminist Evaluation with Men: Achieving
Objectivity in a Sexual Health Needs Assessment (Carole Truman):
A feminist conception of objectivity is used to meaningfully guide
a needs assessment of the sexual health needs of men who have sex
7. Feminist Evaluation in the International Development
Context (Michael Bamberger, Donna R. Podems):
Current approaches to evaluating the differential impacts of international
development on women and men are reviewed, and the potential
contributions feminist evaluation could make to improve our
understanding of the gender dimensions of development are discussed.
8. Feminist, Yes, but Is It Evaluation? (Michael Quinn Patton):
This commentary examines how feminist evaluation principles and
practices look from the perspectives of five different frameworks, each
offering different criteria for judging evaluations.
9. Beginning the Conversation (Kathryn A. Sielbeck–Bowen, Sharon Brisolara, Denise Seigart,
Camille Tischler, Elizabeth Whitmore):
Reflections on the many strands of feminist thinking offered in this volume
underscore a common commitment to the well–being of women,
and thereby of men. Directions for continuing the conversation are also
DENISE SEIGART is associate professor in the department of health sciences at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, and is chair of the American Evaluation Association′s Feminist Issues Topical Interest Group (TIG).
SHARON BRISOLARA is a program evaluator and director of Evaluation Solutions, located in Shasta, California. She has been involved in participatory evaluations and evaluation capacity building in a number of different thematic settings.