FemTechNet

The first article I found on FemTechNet was from the first issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. Here, the creators of FemTechNet, Alexandra Juhasz and Anne Balsamo discuss the process by which they created the FemTechNet, and why feminism and technology are so intimately intertwined. They mention they’re frustration that people do not immediately understand why feminism and technology are so clearly connected, as history has shown that feminism is an important part of advances in technology. Essentially, FemTechNet was created out of a need for an academic feminist community which not only answers this question but keeps an open dialogue about the interconnected relationship between feminist history and current technological advances. It is a Distributed Online Collaborative Course, (DOCC), meaning it is designed as a public and shareable academic community in which people can learn, educate, and have scholarly discussions on the world of FemTech.

The second article I read was from the Huffington Post. They discuss how DOCC is a reworking of the MOOC model of Massive Open Online Course, with more of an emphasis on the feminist technology of collaboration. This key difference allows for the academic process to shift from less of a lecture to students and more of an open, scholarly discourse. This is key to the FemTech movement, which believes collectivity and collaboration are paramount to the advancement of the FemTech movement as it involves participants from all walks of life. The FemTech network aims to not only reach a broader audience than the likes of MOOC, but to engage them in a collaborative experience in which each individual makes contributions to the FemTech academia. They explain that similar open source institutions such as Wikipedia are made up of predominately men, and hope this FemTechNet will create a space for such statistics to change.

The third article I found was from the Camera Obscura, belonging to Duke Journals. This was an abstract by Elizabeth Losh, outlining the shifts feminist movements have made alongside with new technologies. She discusses how FemTech has made progress to resolve the issue of representation on Wikipedia as discussed in the Huffington Post article. Learning projects called, “wikistorming” encourage FemtTech users to add their knowledge to Wikipedia in an effort to expand the female presence on the site. These efforts are certainly interesting as they take a proactive approach to feminist issues, like other traditional academic institutions which only critique the statistics. I respect this approach as I believe only we can make the changes, and the collaborative efforts show a strength in the feminist community which led me to believe that change is not only possible, but highly probable.

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