Geek Feminism Wiki

Patterns

For general hackerspace design patterns, see the Hackerspaces.org design patterns.

Borders

Feminism acknowledges structural oppression exists in society now. Creating a space with less oppression requires borders between the space and society at large. Access to the community - both its physical space and online community - needs to be controlled.

Physical security: multiple levels of physical security are good. Don't have a door that opens directly to the street.

Safe neighborhood

Use crime maps to evaluate. Narcotics arrests are a good proxy for street harassment of women.

Transit

Public transit, parking, bike lanes and parking, and walking.

Accessibility

Elevator, bathroom. Full ADA accessibility is not always easy to find at a price you can afford but often you can get pretty close by negotiating with the landlord for extra keys, small remodels, etc.

Women-only

Only women can be members of the hackerspace. People of other genders and ages may or may not be welcome as guests.

Pros:

It is often difficult to create and sustain a women-centered organization when people of other genders are included, in particular because many of us are socialized from birth to pay more attention to and value (white) men's voices over everyone else's.

Cons:

Often geeky women have little experience with women-only spaces that are welcoming for them and assume a women-only space would be similarly uncomfortable. This may be in part because it is difficult to experience an in-person women-only group of women with similar interests if you are geeky due to the low density of geek women in many geographical areas. It can be more difficult to fund a women-only space, particularly if few of your members work in the technology field, due to women tending to be paid less than men.

Examples:

Women and friends

The space is designed as women-centered, but people of all genders are welcome as members. The space leadership (board and officers) should be mostly or entirely women. 

Examples:

Crowd funding

Successful campaigns launch on a Monday or Tuesday. 

Fiscal sponsorship

Fiscal sponsorship is an arrangement where your organization gains 501c3 status via the fiscal sponsor in exchange for a percentage of the donations that are routed through the fiscal sponsor (usually 7-10%). Ask around for recommendations--not all fiscal sponsors are good partners, and some cannot offer sufficient financial transparency.

If you are a non-profit, philanthropic corporations such as Microsoft may match individual donations.

Community assets

From the very beginning, don't put community infrastructure on personal computer accounts. Share passwords between at least 3 people.

Leave the space clean

Establish strong community norms of always cleaning up after yourselves before leaving the space. Exceptions for long-running projects need to be made clearly and with specific rules. The space should make cleaning intuitive: clearly labeled trash, recycling, dish storage, where to wash.

Clutter is an accessiblity issue.

Pseudonymity

Make rules explicit

Enforced anti-harassment policy

It's okay to not be friends with everyone

Anti-patterns

Feminist hackerspaces as finishing schools

Highlander

Queen bee

Too open

Stamp of approval

Gatekeeping

Over-processing

Keeping everyone happy

Requiring mind-reading