Book Review: Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein

Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein
AnchorReviewed by Lara Groves

How can we scrutinise data and data science using an intersectional feminist lens? This question is one of the central themes of US-based digital humanities academics Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein’s Data Feminism. The book functions as a both primer for data scientists to learn how feminism can help them work toward justice, and as a toolkit for feminists and activists who want to understand more about the world of data science and the power hierarchies that exist within it. Data Feminism problematises the framing of data as a commodity that can optimise our modern world, drawing attention to the ways that data-driven technologies like artificial intelligence can be extractive and discriminatory for women and LGBTQ+ people of colour, indigenous communities and people with insecure immigration status, among others, citing many authors and practitioners belonging to these groups throughout. I found this book to be a compelling but accessible read for those unfamiliar with the workings of the data science industry, and useful for anyone interested in rooting out pernicious forms of power.