Making gender: technologists and crafters in online makerspaces
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The Maker Movement is a rapidly moving development towards non-traditional education through hands-on creation of technological artifacts, indicating tremendous potential for attracting previously marginalized groups underrepresented in science and technology fields. The movement is compellingly situated as the intersection of an expansive array of interdisciplinary efforts and thus equipped to be leveraged by women and girls who are more likely to originate from artistic and creative backgrounds. Women who make are severely underrepresented in all documented embodiments of the maker movement, including maker media, events, and tangible collaborative spaces. This study explores the possibilities of removing barriers to entry into making for women by converging upon the narrow focus of online makerspaces, engaging with the denizens of the space, and scrutinizing the manner in which they participate in the broader maker community. The timeliness of this probe into women’s personal engagement with science and technology making is indicated by the convergence of discussion surrounding the underrepresentation of women in STEM and approaches to increasing accessibility through making as a natural point of entry.