‘Why would I want to be anonymous?’ Questioning ethical principles of anonymity in cross-cultural feminist research

Publication date

05 Nov 2019

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This article focuses on anonymity in research, considering it in relation to feminist values. There has been increasing debate in the feminist literature on the universality of ethics, including reflection on principles such as anonymity. However, there has been limited discussion of the specific challenge facing feminist researchers to amplify the voices of women participants, but also to respect their wishes regarding voice and agency. Assuring anonymity can be empowering for women and girls participating in research, allowing individuals to share their experiences freely without concerns about attribution and its consequences. On the other hand, if research ethics require anonymity, this can actually deny research respondents the right to be heard and operate as a form of silencing. This article focuses on research in Bihar, India, where many of the respondents rejected the idea of anonymity. Upholding a feminist ethics of care and delivering on a feminist commitment to giving voice to women requires a focus on women's agency in the decision-making process around ethics.