Data Against Feminicide

Data Against Feminicide is a feminist participatory action research project led by Catherine D’Ignazio (Data + Feminism Lab @ MIT), Silvana Fumega (ILDA) and Helena Suárez Val (Feminicidio Uruguay). Gender-related violence against women and its lethal outcome, feminicide (or femicide), is a serious problem around the world. Following activist efforts to collect and amplify data on the issue, official statistics are now required by new legislation in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). But criminal reforms and other public policy oriented to ending violence against women need to be accompanied by appropriate tools for data collection. Our work is exploring the need to review, support, and strengthen both official and activist data practices, while making feminicide a more visible problem.

In August 2019, the three collaborators met to start developing ideas to build a project about feminicide data along has three key objectives:

(1) fostering an international community of practice around feminicide data

(2) developing tools to support the collection of feminicide data from media sources

(3) supporting efforts to standardize the production of feminicide data where appropriate

The aim of the project is not to collect or aggregate data, but rather to support and sustain the already existing practices of activists who care for femicide data in their own contexts. The Data + Feminism Lab is specifically supporting the co-design of tools and technologies using AI and machine learning to infrastructure activists' data production practices.

Project website.

Gender-related violence against women and its lethal outcome, feminicide, are a serious problem throughout the world. Official government data on gender violence and feminicide are often absent, incomplete, infrequently updated, and contested. We draw on data feminism to situate feminicide data as missing data. Building on qualitative interviews, this study discusses the informatic work of ten activist and civil society organizations across six countries who combat missing data by producing counterdata. Activists enact alternative epistemological approaches to data science that center care, memory, and justice. Activists also face significant information challenges that increase monitoring labor and add emotional burden to reading about violent deaths. This work contributes to literature on data activism and critical data studies, proposing feminicide data practices as an important research subject. The empirical insights contribute to human-computer interaction (HCI) research, suggesting ways that the field may support and sustain the counterdata production practices of activists.

Murders of women worldwide remain vastly undercounted. Activists are now filling in the gaps

In a paper published today in Patterns, a group of researchers describes how some of activists in the Americas are producing these “counterdata”—data produced by nonmainstream sources—and filling these gaps. ScienceInsider recently discussed those efforts with three of the paper’s authors: Suárez Val; Catherine D’Ignazio, an urban planner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Isadora Cruxên, a political economist at Queen Mary University of London. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Full article.