GenR Workshop 2022

GENDERING ROBOTS: Intersectional Feminist Perspectives on Gender in Social Robotics

August 29th, 2022 (9:00 - 13:00 CEST)

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the GenR Workshop - Gendering Robots: Intersectional Feminist Perspectives on Gender in Social Robotics !

This workshop is held in conjunction with the IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 2022) and will be held in hybrid form.

Statement of Objectives

The present workshop builds on the GenR 2021 workshop – Gendering Robots: Ongoing (Re)configurations of Gender in Robotics, which was held as part of RO-MAN on August 12th, 2021. As per the previous edition of GenR, we aim to bring together researchers interested in the gendering of robots and its resultant impact on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). The gendering of robots seems unavoidable given users’ tendency to anthropomorphize robots; this might have a positive impact on the acceptance of robots, but could also lead to the propagation of harmful gender stereotypes. Alternatively, it has been suggested that intentional gendering and/or queering of robots could be used to tackle such stereotypes by demonstrating and normalising gender norm-breaking behaviours and appearances.

Our spotlight theme for this year’s workshop is Intersectional Feminism. Kimberle Crenshaw first introduced intersectionality as a term to describe the discriminatory effects of race and gender, which cannot be understood in isolation as they amplify and resonate with each other. Crenshaw and other feminists have since developed intersectionality as a framework to understand the interaction of social markers (e.g., gender, race, class, disability) and their effects on social phenomena. The HRI literature has extensively shown that social robots, especially humanoid ones, are exposed to the same social categorisation processes that affect humans (e.g., attribution of age, gender). The integration of social robots in the political dimensions and social categories of society demands a deeper engagement with their potential dangers and opportunities.

By taking an intersectional perspective, we shift the focus of the GenR workshop from our previous engagement with only one social marker (i.e., gender) towards acknowledging the many intersecting aspects of robotic social identities. We look to acknowledge and reckon with how gender interacts and intersects with other identity dimensions, such as race, ethnicity, and other social characteristics. While last year, the GenR workshop was only focused on the gender of robots, this year we extend our focus to also include users’ gender and other aspects of their social identity (e.g., race, ethnicity, class, disability, age) in the range of accepted topics, as they appear to influence HRI in complex and, as of yet, untheorised ways.

Important dates

  • July 8th, 2022 - submission deadline

  • August 5th, 2022 - notification of selection

  • August 29th, 2022 - workshop day (morning CEST)

Please feel invited to reach out should you have questions!

Dr. Giulia Perugia Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e),

Dr. Katie Winkle KTH and Uppsala University,

Dominika Lisy Linköping University,

Dr. Maike Paetzel-Prüsmann Potsdam University,

picture credit: Zaksheuskaya