In October 2015, after a long day at the Open Government Partnership conference, a group of women held an unofficial meeting at Punto Gozadera, a feminist cultural and recreational space in Mexico City.
It was the first global open government women event.
We found a place where we could share our thoughts on the challenges we face as women in this field and spoke of future plans.
Three months later, in January 2016, this group decided to create a Slack team (♀ openness) to continue our discussions and for developing actions together. It is a global group of over 90 women (Edit: in December 2019 we reached 600 members) who work in the fields of open government, open data and civic tech. The group is a safe virtual space where women can meet like-minded women, share their experiences, get advice and words of encouragement.
Today we are proud to introduce Open Heroines, our blog and public alias. Our blog’s mission is simple — to give a visible platform for women from these spaces to express their thoughts, ideas and critique.
This is our public voice.
It’s clear to us that despite women contributing to the ‘open’ spaces, our visibility remains low. From all male speaking conferences, panels and working groups to underrepresentation of women’s voices in the political space, for many years, women working in the open space have been frustrated by this.
We hope that by giving women the opportunity to write under an alias and stay anonymous (if they wish), and by providing support from our group, we will be able to enable more expression and increase the diversity of the different ‘open’ spaces community.
We will use this blog to contribute to a variety of topics that are related to the open government, civic tech and open data sphere from around the world. The majority of the texts will be dedicated to the challenges women face in these ecosystems and how to address them — from gender data to the role of women in the ‘open’ space. We call for all of our allies — regardless of gender — to share, comment and critique our posts so we can tackle these issues together.
Audre Lorde wrote in the Cancer Journals: “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.”
This is exactly what we are going to do in this blog — to inspire new heroines who are empowered to showcase their capabilities, that can shine and make this world a better place. Gathering these women together will form a powerful collective voice.
If you are a woman, queer, cis or trans, and would like to contribute a post or to join our lively slack channel, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.