A different type of ask for women in pursuit of equity

It was a week of powerful conversations with organizations across Northern America, most of whom have global reach and influence...

Their RSVP to EEI was either a resounding yes or a “maybe” that was dependent on finding out who else would be at the table and what would be served. It is that last question from those in the “maybe” camp that revealed where they were in thinking about the ways in which patriarchy and racism have constructed our ways of knowing and our ability to hold multiple truths and to swim in the reality of complexity.  

That brings me to today at my gym, as I watch the women’s U.S. Open Finals while cycling away. History is happening. It is unfolding all around us. New expectations of what is possible are being set in every walk of life and in politics, business, sports, science, literature, etc. And what I notice above all else is that women are at the forefront. We are asking for a world that was not created by us or for us even though without us, there would be nothing.  

That is not to say that we have not shaped this country (or the world for that matter), but acknowledgment, credit, and even ownership has been given to women begrudgingly, and often, retrospectively.

Not any more.

So what does all this have to do with evaluation? 

It is simply another frontier that we must reshape to be fully inclusive and reflective of the 21st century. We must not start with methods that are grounded in the limits of current thinking if we want to get anywhere new. I want to live in a world that honors and embraces the humanity, experience, and knowledge of all. 

Now to the ask.  

And it is an ask to women, because I don't think we ask enough of others and, too often, we give ourselves permission to opt-out. We must articulate what we know to be in our best interest and the best interest of the work, and then insist that it happen. Ask, expect, influence. And, in doing so...

  • Embrace your full selves in this work

  • Trust your intuition - it is knowledge 

  • Reject competition in favor of collaboration

  • Resist scarcity and limiting thinking, attitudes, and behaviors

  • Engage in building relationships (because they matter) and improve the quality of our work and deepen our experience

  • Be visible and intentional

  • Connect with other women 

As women leaders in pursuit of equity, we need to activate and leverage our ability to bring individuals, communities, and networks together to accelerate our vision unapologetically. Value yourself and your leadership. Ask and keep on asking. Your power is your persistence.


EEI UpdatesJara Dean-Coffey