Attending this event?
To view sessions, please select the Grid view below.

After registering for the conference, you can log in here to save sessions to your personalized itinerary, sign up for workshops and performances with limited capacity, edit your profile, and edit your session description. For help using Sched, please see support.

For full details about the conference, please visit hastac2023.org
Back To Schedule
Friday, June 9 • 2:10pm - 2:30pm
How to increase gender-inclusiveness in critical making: innovative formats and measures co-created with makers worldwide

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

In the collaborative research project Critical Making, which is conducted by five European-based institutions and financed under the European Research Framework Horizon 2020, we study grassroots innovations in the global maker movement. In this research we put a special focus on gender relations. We started our work with a collection and review of existing initiatives and programmes, on- and offline, that are aimed to engage and accept cis and trans female, inter*, and non-binary persons in the community of responsible innovators and makers. Gender aspects have been investigated in the maker movement for some years and studies confirm a cis male gender bias in maker settings across the globe (Maric, 2018; Wittemyer et al., 2014). In a participatory research manner we wanted to collectively explore what measures can contribute to a more balanced gender representation in making. In our approach towards gender, we define gender as a relational, fluent category of social structuring and relevance, which is inherently tied to power differentials and inequalities. We do not consider gender as binary, but as a category offering space to cis and trans men and women, inter* and nonbinary persons and those not only attributing themselves to one of these categories. In relation to the concept of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989), gender cannot be deduced as a single category of interest, as at the level of individuals gender intersects with other categories of discrimination such as race, class, disability or sexual orientation. In three online workshop sessions with 12 representatives of the maker community, which were happening in October and November 2021 a series of gender-specific measures were co-designed to achieve a more gender diverse participation in makerspaces. The proposed measures include new formats for caretaker inclusive making, supporting women in local communities to engage in making, and specific communication and dissemination activities to highlight gender diversity in making, such as the documentation of inspirational stories.  

The feedback from those implementing these measures has been very positive so far. For example, the two maker organisations HONF and XXLab in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, ran an inclusive space camp, where they invited mothers, nonbinary persons and children to produce innovative projects out of everyday domestic objects. They engaged 20 mothers & children, 4 nonbinary persons and 65 participants from the general public in total in their activities. Participating mothers all valued the experience of making as very rewarding. However, those mothers who were in their teenage years had varying interests and would have liked to work more with coding and programming rather than hands-on activities. Another example is the GoSanitize project implemented by the GoGirls ICT initiative in South Sudan. Based on the shared experiences from the MboaLab in Cameroon young female brewers were trained to produce highly concentrated alcohol (ethanol) for use in the hand sanitizers. In order to counteract slander of women being involved in the production of alcohol, religious leaders were invited for their approval and important safety standards for local brewers were discussed, which all contributed to strengthening the female brewers businesses. In our contribution for HASTAC 2023 we will elaborate further on the co-created measures for gender-inclusiveness in making and discuss the experiences and feedback collected from their implementation in maker communities worldwide.

We write this proposal as 3 women and 1 nonbinary person, as 2 white persons from the Global North and 2 BPOC from the Global South, as nondisabled social scientists and makers. Our different perspectives have enriched our mutual collaboration and the presented activities. We combine a history of researching social innovations in technology and making, with in-depth experiences of implementing hands-on innovation processes in local maker communities


Teresa Schaefer

Centre for Soziale Innovation, Austria

Lisa Mo Seebacher

Centre for Soziale Innovation, Austria

Friday June 9, 2023 2:10pm - 2:30pm EDT
ARC E-02