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Guest-Talk: "Reproduction of Gender Inequalities through Algorithmic Systems, or: How the State Governs Gender" by Liz Wehmeier, June 27th

News from Jun 20, 2019

June 27th, 2 pm, Liz Wehmeier will give the talk: "Reproduction of Gender Inequalities through Algorithmic Systems, or: How the State Governs Gender" at the HCC Lab.

Liz Wehmeier is a political science major at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests center around Critical Peace and Conflict Studies as well as Gender Studies. Her interest for the social impacts of algorithmic decision-making piqued after a seminar on „Data and Society“ in Berkely, CA.


The conceptualizations of the state, technology and gender are closely linked. In this talk I will argue that algorithmic systems must be understood as a specific form of governance. They are inherently political, which is particularly relevant with regard to gender inequalities. From a state feminist perspective, I will analyse the algorithm used by the Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich ("Austrian Labour Market Service") to evaluate jobseekers in terms of their chances of integration into the labour market. The chances of integrating women* into the labour market are rated lower than those of men: there are general deductions if a person is categorised as "female" as well as if the person has childcare obligations - but this feature is only applied to women*. I would like to offer an interpretation of how gender is governed and what role algorithmic systems play in the manifestation of state power in this context. I will analyse how the use of algorithmic decision-making systems in our central social and political institutions actively reproduces, potentially intensifies and naturalises existing gender inequalities in society.

Date: June 27, 2019
Location: Königin-Luise-Straße 24-26, 14195 Berlin, room 120

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