By April Hathcock

This is an abridged version of a longer blog post. You can read a more complete description of our work in my post on At the Intersection.

  1. How has the patriarchy affected you?
  2. How has the patriarchy impacted your work?
  3. How have you been complicit in perpetuating the patriarchy?

These were the three questions we started with when beginning our reflection on what has become the Femifesto: Feminist Framework for Radical Knowledge Collaboration.

My colleagues Sandra Enimil, Charlotte Roh, Ivonne Lujano, Sharon Farb, Gimena del Rio Riande, and Lingyu Wang began working on this idea several months ago as a proposal for the Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute in Chapel Hill, NC in the U.S., situated on the unceded lands of the Eno, Shakori, and Catawba nations and on land worked by countless enslaved people of the African diaspora. What initially began as a possible toolkit, quickly, through our individual and collective reflection work, evolved into a framework for thinking through equitable collaboration in knowledge work.

Femifesto Wordle
Word cloud of the Femifesto: Feminist Framework for Radical Knowledge Collaboration, created by Gimena del Rio Riande

The framework starts with a set of overarching principles, or our “Femifesto,” that serve to inform the context of our work:

  • Ethic of care/Ethical approach – We approach this work as human beings fully recognizing the humanity of those around us, working with us, whose work we rely on.
  • Intersectional lens – We adopt an intersectional feminist lens for our work because it is the framework that speaks most to us.
  • Radical – We are committed to destroying the status quo for more inclusive, equitable, ethical ways of knowing and doing.
  • Inclusive – We acknowledge that there are many ways of doing, being, thinking, and creating.
  • Language matters, lenguaje se importa – Language is important and should be used as a tool for inclusion rather than a barrier to participation.
  • Not one size fits all – translators and contributors should add their own examples; local context is valuable and valued
  • Process more important than product or deliverables – Whatever we do requires thought, relationship-building, and critical care.
  • Importance of repatriation – We work to stop justifying the harm we do as humans in a patriarchal system and instead redress historical and continued violence.  

The framework then focuses on three main areas of knowledge work: 1) Building empowering relationships; 2) Developing anti-oppressive description and metadata; and 3) Engaging in ethical and inclusive dissemination and publication. Each area is followed by a set of principles, as well as some best practices and examples.

This is just a start, a work-in-progress, yet we welcome others who wish to engage with our work to do so starting right away: https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/Femifesto. At some point, we will take our version of the framework and move it to a more stable online space that still allows for community interaction, development, and growth. But for now, we’re ready to dig in, and we hope you’ll join us.

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