fempower.tech at Women, Work, and Activism Conference
Angelika Strohmayer and Samantha Mitchell Finnigan will be presenting a paper titled ‘fempower.tech: combining bottom-up and top-down approaches to equality, diversity, and inclusion in academia’ at a conference this weekend. The conference is called ‘Women, work, and activism: pasts, presents, futures’. More information on the conference can be found here: https://womenworkandactivism2018.wordpress.com/
Our abstract is as follows, and our presentation slides can be found here: fempower.tech – women, work, and activism conference presentation.
As fempower.tech, we are a group of intersectional feminists who aim to raise awareness of feminist issues in HCI. Our attempts of doing this are focused in critiquing existing practices and playing an activist role in positively affecting these. We engage in out-reach and in-reach events such as support groups. Our members are made up of Masters and PhD students, as well as academic staff; working to develop bottom-up approaches to systemic problems while working with the institution to influence top-down policymaking.
Our bottom-up approach provides us with a safe space to discuss personal as well as institutional concerns considering the development of university policies. While this kind of discussion is invaluable and often cathartic, we question to what extent we have been able to put our conversations into practice. Measuring tangible outcomes from bottom-up approaches is very difficult, and arguably too personal to be measurable, but within current neoliberal university structures, impact measurements are necessary to acquire funding and institutional support. To be able to carry forward the changes we hope to affect, we also need top-down support to provide sustainable equality, diversity, and inclusion impact. The question we ask ourselves here is how do we best combine our bottom-up approaches with the necessary top-down changes?