The increased datafication our interactions and permeation of data science into more aspects of our lives requires analysis of the systems of power surrounding and undergirding data. The impacts of the creation, use, collection, and aggregation of data are such that individuals from various communities face disparate, negative impacts.
In their new book, Data Feminism
(MIT Press, 2020), Catherine D’Ignazio
and Lauren Klein
, call for changing the way we think about data and how it is communicated, particularly through visualization. D’Ignazio, an Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Planning at MIT, and Klein, an Associate Professor in the Departments of English and Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University, assert that the way forward is through a commitment to putting into action the ideas associated with intersectional feminism. This requires learning from an inclusive array of experts, many of whom have historically been neglected or ignored. They also assert the need for critical data literacy, which examines power asymmetries in and surrounding data, and challenges the myths and assumptions about data and in data science.