Innovation Ecosystem for women makers through textiles labs and the shemakes.eu approach
The drive for change is transcending all layers of society. The call for more social justice spreads throughout research, policy, industry and civil society. Practices are flourishing from the individual to the territorial level, creating heterogeneous communities of practitioners. People are juggling with many forms of innovation to reshape in parallel many dimensions of systems, looking for more equity, sustainability, and comfort.
It has become necessary to reflect at the innovation ecosystem level, to better understand the current dynamics of these changes and better frame, design and evaluate the interventions we are co-creating and the impacts we are generating by acting in our close environments.
In this paper, we present the shemakes.eu project as a fertile ground for the maker movement and associated partners to reflect on gender gaps, proposing a series of interventions that raise awareness and empower women in lab environments, in the Textile and Clothing industry, and more widely in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy frameworks.
After giving a short overview of our research methodology based on action research, we present our work in four parts, starting with the contextualisation of the gender gap at different scales, mapping the emerging shemakes.eu innovation ecosystem, proposing a series of interventions through labs-based activities and projects, and reflecting on key lessons learnt and future actions for the (women’s) maker movement.