Data Feminism

16 september 2021 15:30 t/m 17:00 - Door: Webredactie

Introduction "Why Data Science Needs Feminism", Chapter 1: "The Power Chapter" and Chapter 7: "Show Your Work"

Date: September 16th 2021
Time: 15:30-17:00
Presenter: Madelaine Ley
Author: Catherine D'Ignazio & Lauren F. Klein


This book is a great way to start our reading group, as it throws us right into discussions on power, justice, and the need (or not!) for feminism in data science. It will help get some definitions and concepts on the table, which we can take forward to later conversations.

Book bio

Illustrating data feminism in action, D'Ignazio and Klein show how challenges to the male/female binary can help challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems. They explain how, for example, an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization, and how the concept of invisible labor can expose the significant human efforts required by our automated systems. And they show why the data never, ever “speak for themselves.

If you would like to join this session, please send an email to: Tom Coggins ( or Madelaine Ley (


At a recent 4TU PhD course, we found that students (including ourselves) shared a common interest in intersectional feminist philosophy of technology, but lacked clarity on how to use it in our work. So, we’re starting up a reading group to deepen our knowledge of the field, explore how we can integrate this perspective in our work, and foster a community of like-minded (interdisciplinary) scholars across TPM. We hope you will join us!

Below you’ll find a description on the group’s purpose, format and schedule. Please email Tom Coggins ( or Madelaine Ley ( if you’re interested in joining and/or presenting.


The reading group will deepen our knowledge of intersectional feminist philosophy of technology, examine how we can include this perspective in our research, and foster a community of like-minded scholars across TPM. The group discusses one  or more texts (articles or book chapters) of approximately 20 - 60 pages once every two months. Texts are chosen based on the following criteria:

  1. They deal with themes associated  with intersectional feminist theory (i.e., gender-based injustices, the performativity of gender, the politico-economic function of gender) AND technology. 
  2. One participant who is familiar  with the text(s) will volunteer beforehand and present its core argument and key concepts during the discussion session. Ideally, the participant has used the chosen text(s) in their work and can offer insights into how they have interpreted and used it.

Format of Discussion Section

Prior to the discussion session, participants upload critical questions they have concerning the text(s) to a shared document created for this purpose. All questions are welcome. One participant (decided beforehand) prepares a short presentation which outlines their interpretation of the text(s) core argument and key concepts. (10 minutes)

Afterwards, the presenter facilitates discussion with other participants (based on questions uploaded and accessible to the presenter beforehand). One of the organisers will help moderate this discussion (30 minutes)

Organisers open the floor for free discussion (20 minutes)

The session ends with reflections on the text(s) key takeaways. For instance, what was its main message? What did individual participants learn from the text and the session? (15 minutes)