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Gender Story 1. Mind the Gap at the Waag

On August 16 2018, a group of around 30 people met at Waag in Amsterdam to address the following questions: 

"Why are there still less women working in technology and science? Is it biological differences, a result of 'male-dominated' organisations or societal culture? " [1]

The event revolved around Mind the Gap, a playful intervention to enact gendered perspectives on a board-game. Players are randomly allocated a gendered Player-Characters (PCs) which has to move through a stereotypical career path in ICT. The path is graphically modelled on the rail map of the London Underground and Hong Kong Metro, with a Career line and a Family line. 

Screen shot 2018 08 24 at 17.57.50

To ground the game in the ICT work context (8M:2F), male-PCs advance by rolling a 6-sided die. Female and Rainbow-PCs (the word chosen by the anonymous player who first introduced the LGBT perspective in the game) advance by rolling a 4-sided die.  

Screen shot 2018 08 24 at 18.01.18

After each move, players pick up "participants’ authored Advantage Cards". These cards constitute the rules of the game and provide vivid, short narratives describing lived experiences of privileges or detriments affecting people because of their gender [2].

The Waag's perspective

At the play session in the Waag, we collected a total of 30 cards (25 contained personal data describing the authors). All but one participants described being females and 1 participant indicated their gender with an x. The average age of the group was around 37 years. I had the impression that most of the players were empowered people working in ICT related jobs. At the event, 4 persons introduced themselves as males.

The cards described different perspectives and dictated the number of places each gendered PCs should move backwards or forward on the game-board. Their average provided a description of the general perception this group of young empowered women in Amsterdam shared about gender inequalities in ICT, and more generally on life.

On the average, male PC’s were advantaged by 0.5 point (mean= 0.41) as compared to female PCs (-0.17) or rainbow PCs (-0.04). However, advantages and detriments varied according to topic and context as reported in the cards.


I have used this rich collective narrative to write my interpretation of the Waag’s Gender Story which talks about empowerment, inequalities and solidarity. Read it to be in a female developer’s shoes.

Female developer



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