Feminist Tech

1,136 Women Want the Breast Pump To Not Suck

I’m out at the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) conference in San Jose, CA, with Becky Michelson to present our paper “A Feminist HCI Approach to Designing Postpartum Technologies: “When I first saw a breast pump I was wondering if it was a joke.” In this paper we analyzed the 1,136 ideas we received to improve the breast pump, an outdated and frustrating technology for most mothers. TLDR: Our main finding is that women individually internalize what are essentially collective problems – failures of policy, education and social stigma. While an improved breast pump is important, we also need to fix a society that isolates women in the post-partum period, forces them back to work too soon, and makes them feel humiliated and ashamed of nourishing their newborn children.

If you are more interested in learning about how we organized the “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab, you can read our other paper Towards a Feminist Hackathon in the Journal of Peer Production.