Feminist Theory, Global Gender Justice, and the Evaluation of Grant Making

Philosophical Topics 37 (2):179-198 (2009)
Abstract
In activist circles feminist political thought is often viewed as abstract because it does not help activists make the kinds of arguments that are generally effective with donors and policy makers. The feminist political philosopher's focus on how we know and what counts as knowledge is a large step away from the terrain in which activists make their arguments to donors. Yet, philosophical reflection on the relations between power and knowledge can make a significant contribution to women's human rights work in the area of evaluation. Feminist political philosophy can offer guidelines for how to evaluate the work of women's human rights organizations and their funders in light of the social, political, and economic conditions that render their work necessary and difficult. This article offers 1) an account of the difficulty in showing the impact of social change activism using conventional modes of measurement, particularly those that focus on first order effects, 2) feminist theoretical insights into the interrelatedness of global gender injustices that may help us develop better benchmarks of evaluation for women's human rights programming, and 3) a sketch of how to approach the evaluation of organizations and donors who seek to support global gender justice.
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