Report: Barriers to women’s involvement in hackspaces and makerspaces

Report from Access Space

This report uses interviews and – in the absence of a substantial body of empirical studies – existing informal research and media in order to elucidate the reasons underlying an observed gender-imbalance in the users of organisations known as ‘hackspaces’ and ‘makerspaces’. We frame this phenomenon in the wider context of a similar imbalance in the number of girls and women pursuing study and careers in STEM and computing subjects, and the beneits of achieving a more egalitarian community, for the individual, the organisation, and society in general. We identify several distinct ‘barriers’ to engagement, and provide suggestions for possible solutions.

In the absence of empirical research, we suggest that organisations wishing to make change to improve the gender-balance of their user base should do so with caution and continuous feedback from their existing and target audiences in order to ensure effcacious change without disruption, and call for more research into this issue to verify or challenge the conclusions which we draw here.

You can read and download full report here. [PDF 259K]