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  • Lecture

Feminist Data Science in Action

A Conversation with Catherine D’Ignazio

This event has already occurred

March 21, 2023, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Hybrid event: Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, sixth floor; and on Zoom
Open to the Public
Catherine D'Ignazio

Critiques and exposés of how big data, big tech, and AI can perpetuate discrimination and inequality have been mounting in recent years. How can data scientists, researchers, and planners who work with data and AI use these tools in the service of equity, justice, and liberation? 

This talk finds an answer in the data science practices of grassroots feminist activists across the Americas working to address the serious problem of feminicide (fatal gender-related violence against women and girls, including cisgender and transgender women). These “data activists” are producing counterdata (data that is either missing from or challenges existing official data) that centers care, memory, and justice — an alternative approach that defies the reigning logic of data science.

This talk, and D'Ignazio's forthcoming book, Counting Feminicide: Data Feminism in Action, make the case that feminicide data activists are at the forefront of a data ethics that rigorously and consistently takes power and people into account.


Catherine D'Ignazio will be joining us virtually for this talk. Guests can attend an in-person “watch party” or join us online to view the live Zoom feed.

In-person registration is limited; sign up early! Lunch will be served.

Register to attend in person

Register to attend virtually

About the Speaker

Catherine D’Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and hacker mama who focuses on feminist technology and data justice. She has run reproductive justice hackathons, designed global news recommendation systems, and created talking and tweeting water quality sculptures. With Rahul Bhargava, she built the platform, a suite of tools and activities to introduce newcomers to data science. Her book, Data Feminism (MIT Press 2020), co-authored with Lauren F. Klein, charts a course for more ethical and empowering data science practices. Since 2019, she has co-organized Data Against Feminicide, a participatory action-research-design project, with Silvana Fumega and Helena Suárez Val. D'Ignazio's forthcoming book, Counting Feminicide: Data Feminism in Action (MIT Press 2024), highlights how the data science practices of grassroots feminist activists across the Americas have a lot to teach mainstream practitioners about using data science in the service of justice. D’Ignazio is an Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is also Director of the Data + Feminism Lab which uses data and computational methods to work towards gender and racial justice, particularly in relation to space and place.

About the Series

This program is part of the the Park-Choi DEIA Lecture Series, established in 2021 with a gift from William C. Park (‘89) and Jung Choi and dedicated to exploring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. The Park-Choi DEIA Lecture Series Fund supports the Penn Libraries’ commitment, articulated in its Strategic Plan 2020-2025, to contribute to local and national movements to address societal inequities.