No items found.
7 min

Feminism from the PoV of an #OpenHeroine

Participants in a conference.
Written by
Maria Alejandra Kapell
Published on
July 4, 2019

Spanish version: Feminismo desde el PoV de una #OpenHeroine

Special Shoutout to my friend Karla Jované who helped me to translate my pubication. She’s a Panamanian Oficial Translator and you can contact her via mail ( for jobs!

I would like to dedicate my first lines to the #OpenHeroines that could not attend the event due to all the inconveniences and vicissitudes that happened with their immigration procedures. Girls, please don’t allow that these situations limit or stop you to continue applying to more opportunities. Never give up, keep fighting, keep creating. There will be more opportunities for us all to be together, sharing and revolutionizing the world! You deserved to be there as much as we are, you are just as important, precisely because you are a living example of how necessary it is to unmask the imposed stereotypes. I believe that it is important to consider for future events, the facilitation of immigration processes for people who are dedicated to creating change and who deserve to be heard on platforms such as the Open Government Partnership Global Summit. It remains in the organizers of future events, seek greater diversity, eliminate invisible barriers, seek to grow the movement and continue to fund initiatives like #OpenHeroines.

The experience as #OpenHeroines aroused my desire to do more for the feminist struggles of my country. Meet women from all corners of the world who in their day to day, fight the battle against the imposed roles of our societies makes you reconsider everything you know and question how effectively you impact from your position.

At the end of May 2019, 13 women were selected worldwide to represent their respective countries as grantees in order to attend the Open Government Partnership Global Summit that took place in the City of Ottawa, Canada. The stories of impact, anecdotes and experiences that I received from each incredible woman who shared with me throughout this experience was inspiring!

Women near the Ottawa sign.

Women experts in Open Data, Citizen Participation, Law Professionals, Workers and Creators of Digital Content in social networks sharing high-impact content, women who carried concrete social aid thinking about the problems of our gender, academics … All leading in their respective countries as the true agents of change that are so needed in these times!

During those days, I was able to hear their stories directly from them. I was surprised that one of my friends from Kenya could understand Spanish, her other compatriot surprised me twice when she told me that she worked for an NGO that promoted reproductive health and took menstruation as a priority sexual health issue and educated the young people of her country in order to abolish the stigma that we have imposed. My friend from Tunisia shared her experiences within her country of how the new generation of feminists has differences with the past generation but all sought the collective welfare of the genre. She is studying her PhD in Gender Studies. From my friends in Mexico, I learned the importance of empowering ourselves through resilience with the difficult experiences that we must live every day and that the only thing we have guaranteed is our growth.

A selfie with multiple women.

In my case, as I was sharing what I was doing in Panama with #OpenGovernment, many people were surprised in the workshops when I commented that i was a young woman in politics that advocated and guaranteed that the #OpenGovernment tool is an effective mechanism of citizen participation and that is generating concrete results in my country.

Panama is on its way to the Fourth Plan of Action, several successful tools have been created, such as the Citizen Observatory of the Judicial Organ, the effective accountability of the Authorities (work of Civil Society Organizations in conjunction with the National Authority for Transparency and Access to the Information [ANTAI] and the Authority for Government Innovation [AIG]), citizen platforms that make visible #opendata provided by the Government (, measures absenteeism of the Legislative Assembly, number of laws presented by the Deputies, measure the level of accountability made by the Public Entities and other functions) and this will be the first year that the National Open Government Commission will meet, in which there is a high participation of the female gender, but gender issues have not been addressed.

But, despite the fact that the achievements are coming / materialized, we still need to consider the necessary inclusion of people from the LGTBI + community, Indigenous people and other sectors that need to use and empower themselves in these spaces so that they attend to non-extendable topics such as sexual education, equal marriage ,constitutional reforms, guarantee of punishment to the corrupt, swiftness in judicial processes, among other problems to attack!

It also had the same effect when I mentioned that it belonged to the National Forum of Women of Political Parties (yes, all the political parties of the country) and that we were united by the gender agenda, the struggle for the vindication of women’s rights, especially in politics and sorority to guarantee better opportunities to those who come after us.

Historically in my country, politics, education, and opportunities were reserved exclusively for men. My idol Clara Gonzalez de Behringer, the first woman lawyer of Panama, created the First Feminist Party, promoted union struggles with other ladies, managed to break the stereotype of the era in which women could not practice law and we had to limit ourselves to study to be teachers, nurses or housewives. She was the proponent of the Panamanian women’s suffrage movement and also advocated for the participation of women in politics, a struggle that she finally achieved in 1946, when the constitution was modified and we were allowed to run for positions of popular election as representatives and mayors, as well as we are also claimed the right to finally be able to vote in a presidential election.

A newspaper with a woman image.

But talk about women’s political participation; without knowing previously the resistance to change due to ignorance, the fear of social disapproval and the refusal of some men who do not understand their position and who refuse to renounce certain privileges, we wake up from the subordination and domination to our sex, since we must be clear that feminism as a political perspective helps to make visible the gender problems. And with it take solutions that can be considered “a danger to the laws and customs.”

The efforts to build and understand the true essence of political participation where women play an active role, makes sense when the concept of feminism is understood; that is nothing more than a movement, an ideology that advocates the questioning of current reality as of the past through history with the aim of identifying and evidencing the different oppressive elements that place our gender in the stigma of prejudice, devaluing our think and confuse the movement with the incitement to hatred against men.

We seek to propose solutions that allow returning to the female sex its attention as people and the feminist movement has been essential in the construction of political participation. The base, on which rest the revolutionary ideas that have allowed the vindication of our political rights, although it has been disparate, has always opted for a general transformation.

The policy should be the part-time profession of every citizen. [Dwight D. Eisenhower, president of the USA]

Talking about the feminization of politics has nothing to do only with the presence of women in politics; is to go beyond parity. It implies incorporating issues with a feminist perspective into the political agenda, which allows combating the various problems that violate the human rights of people due to gender. Undoubtedly, it is necessary that the sexes accede to power in fair conditions, and that with this women occupy the positions that have been denied to them throughout history. Incorporating feminism within politics allows not to fall into the creation of erroneous policies and the feminization of politics is not constituted as the exclusive responsibility of women, but it is also necessary that it be accepted by men with a new and different way of do politics The adherence of feminism is not an option, it is the only way to achieve better and more democratic societies.

The idea of ​​promoting the participation of more women in the opening of the States, will guarantee equal opportunities to access information, services and resources provided by the same in order to create the basic conditions for the fair opening of administrations. If the entire population is not guaranteed the same social and economic conditions to be interested and participate in matters that are not only private, but also public, it would go against the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration of the establishment of the relationship with the citizenry and would not substantially improve the effectiveness and impact on public policies promoted by Open Government.

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Continue reading

Let's Catch Up!

Happy 8th Anniversary, Open Heroines!
Mor Rubinstein
January 17, 2024

Speak Freely, Speak Safely: Committing to Feminist Online Civic Space

Outcomes from OH/Pollicy Session at OGP Summit
October 4, 2023
6 min read