Making Grooves With Needles: Using e-textiles to encourage gender diversity in embedded audio systems design
Historically, women have been excluded from engineering and computer science disciplines, and interactive audio is no excep- tion. Relatively few women are involved with the designing and building of embedded audio systems with traditional tools such as microprocessors, but when embedded audio systems are built using e-textiles, much larger proportions of women become engaged with technology. In this paper we review theories for this gender disparity and the barriers women face in working with audio technology, and then present a com- parison of survey data between an e-textile audio workshop and an audio platform user group. Extrapolating from the case study and the surveyed literature, we propose that flexibility in learning, communal dissemination of knowledge, and gender- ing of tools are prominent reasons why women engage with technology via e-textiles.