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[CHI] Closing Plenary
May 5 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm UTC
Abstract: In recent years, femtech – ‘female technologies’ has received increased attention and venture capital funding, with some celebrating this as a feminist approach to design. While commendable in opening spaces for other genders, these efforts are tethered to the healthcare industry, narrowing the scope and potential of inclusive design. This talk broadens these conceptions by drawing from user-research of women ‘gig’ workers in the Global South as they organize themselves to navigate tech platforms and engage with the various design innovations that mediate their work and life worlds. These research efforts are driven by FemLab, a decolonial and co-design initiative that situate at the center the voices of the marginalized workers at the bottom of the global value chain in the design and building of digital storytelling campaigns for inclusive labor futures. The fact is that we need to disrupt binaries in our approach on laboring through and with platforms. Flexibility and formality, individual and collective, and standardization and localization are not diametrically opposite; instead, can be complementary to pathways on inclusive work. We need to recognize the varied dynamics of systemic inequality, shaped by race, caste, gender, and religion, among other intersections for equitable design interventions for dignified work. We should distribute our energies, going beyond the design of tech to the everyday governance and redressal systems that keep these systems accountable, responsible, and just. Lastly, let us attend to collectives and cooperatives as critical in shaping reform and instituting legitimate choice.
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