Feminist Hackathons

Numerous taboo topics relate to women's bodies: sexual assault, breastfeeding, postpartum support, infant mortality, menstruation, miscarriage, abortion and more. Stigma and taboos mean that scientific research doesn't get done, data doesn't get collected, policy doesn't get made, and education doesn't happen. In our feminist hackathons we envision worlds in which breast pumps don't suck, in which birth care is free of bias, and in which we celebrate, study, share and care for our beautiful leaking bodies.

Learn more:

Hackathons as Participatory Design: Iterating Feminist Utopias

Breastfeeding is not only a public health issue, but also a matter of economic and social justice. This paper presents an iteration of a participatory design process to create spaces for re-imagining products, services, systems, and policies that support breastfeeding in the United States. Our work contributes to a growing literature around making hackathons more inclusive and accessible, designing participatory processes that center marginalized voices, and incorporating systems - and relationship - based approaches to problem solving. By presenting an honest assessment of the successes and shortcomings of the first iteration of a hackathon, we explain how we re-structured the second Make the Breast Pump Not Suck hackathon in service of equity and systems design. Key to our re-imagining of conventional innovation structures is a focus on experience design, where joy and play serve as key strategies to help people and institutions build relationships across lines of difference. We conclude with a discussion of design principles applicable not only to designers of events, but to social movement researchers and HCI scholars trying to address oppression through the design of technologies and socio-technical systems.