Our Story

“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.” ~ Audre Lorde

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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's 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 develop actions together. It is a global group of women and non-binary people who work in the fields of open government, open data and civic tech. The group is a safe virtual space where women & non-binary people can meet like-minded individuals, share their experiences, get advice & words of encouragement.

A Medium blog was also launched with a simple mission — to give a visible platform for women from these spaces to express their thoughts, ideas and critique. Often, the voices of women and non-binary people remain missing in critical global conversations. Community members have since used this platform to contribute to a variety of topics that are related to the open government, civic tech and open data sphere from around the world. 

In the first five years of Open Heroines, we relied on volunteers to do community work. However, the community expanded fast, the pandemic hit and it became hard to get work done by volunteers alone. In 2021, with the support of the Hewlett Foundation, we hired three part-time consultants to help nurture the community. We want to live by our values and acknowledge the time and effort done by women.

To date, we have supported our community through travel grants, writing grants and funding our members to organise local and international events. We also further conversations about the issues that affect our members such as toxic workspaces, tokenism when it comes to considering them for speaking engagements, pay discrimination, and the like. 

Open Heroines is not a formal organisation. Our fiscal and logistical home is Development Gateway.

Get Involved

Community members and allies can support and build our platform in a number of ways:

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Join Us

Are you a woman or non-binary person, working in the Open+ spaces looking to join our community?

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Contribute to Our Blog

Would you like to share your thoughts on open government, open data or civic tech?

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Peer Learning

Share your knowledge and expertise by leading a skill-building workshop.

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Follow Us on Social Media