Cover for LAYNE: Feminist Technology. Click for larger image

Feminist Technology

A multi-voiced debate on technologies designed to improve women's lives

Is there such a thing as a "feminist technology"? If so, what makes a technology feminist? Is it in the design process, in the thing itself, in the way it is marketed, or in the way it is used by women (or by men)?

In this collection, feminist scholars trained in diverse fields consider these questions by examining a range of products, tools, and technologies that were specifically designed for and marketed to women. Evaluating the claims that such products are liberating for women, the contributors focus on case studies of menstrual-suppressing birth control pills, home pregnancy tests, tampons, breast pumps, Norplant, anti-fertility vaccines, and microbicides. In examining these various products, this volume explores ways of actively intervening to develop better tools for designing, promoting, and evaluating feminist technologies. Recognizing the different needs and desires of women and acknowledging the multiplicity of feminist approaches, Feminist Technology offers a sustained debate on existing and emergent technologies that share the goal of improving women's lives.

Contributors are Jennifer Aengst, Maia Boswell-Penc, Kate Boyer, Frances Bronet, Shirley Gorenstein, Anita Hardon, Deborah G. Johnson, Linda L. Layne, Deana McDonagh, and Sharra L. Vostral.

"This coherent and integrated collection lays out the issues and questions of feminist technology, crossing a true range of disciplinary boundaries including science and technology studies, architecture, biology, and the social sciences."--Barbara Katz Rothman, author of Recreating Motherhood: Ideology and Technology in a Patriarchal Society


Linda L. Layne is the Hale Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences and a professor of anthropology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her books include Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Perspective on Pregnancy Loss and Consuming Motherhood. Sharra L. Vostral is an associate professor of Gender and Women's Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Under Wraps: Menstrual Hygiene and Technologies of Passing. Kate Boyer is a lecturer in the School of Geography at the University of Southampton. She has published works in Gender, Place and Culture; Progress in Human Geography; and elsewhere.

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