Where are all the Female Futurists?

Posted By on October 5, 2015


It seems that these days Futurists are prevalent in everything from TED-style talks through to modern businesses that are trying to work out which way the world is heading. What has become apparent to me is that there seems to be a lack of women labelled as Futurists. What I wanted to do with ‘Where are all the Female Futurists?’ is highlight some of the amazing female thinkers out there.

Dr. Sarah Kember

Sarah Kember’s research covers many aspects of the relation between technology and life, from the centrality of new media in everyday life to scientific projects such as Artificial Life which redefines life as information and seeks to both simulate life-as-we-know-it and synthesise life-as-it-could-be. Sarah’s approach to developments in science, technology and new media is critical, curious and often playful.

Dr. Kember’s work covers a lot of ground – from new media, philosophy, feminism and science through to technology studies. She is the author of Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life (Routledge, 2003) and co-edited Inventive Life.

The following presentation is called ‘Ambient Intelligence: the makeover and metamorphosis of the self in relation to technology and capital (and what we can do about it).’

I also wanted to include this great talk on smart cities and the idea of “ubiquitous women sexing up the city”.

Amy Zalman

Amy Zalman is the CEO and President of the World Future Society. In her role as CEO, Dr. Zalman develops and implements a strategy to maintain the Society’s original mission as a neutral clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas about the future, while ensuring that there us global network of people, resources, information, and activities that advance the world’s best ideas for creating desirable futures.

She is also the founder of Strategic Narrative, a digital clearinghouse for resources and expertise that helps governments and private sector clients influence outcomes and shape behaviors using the principles of storytelling and narrative.

Here she is talking about ‘Power Narratives’.

And, also her great speech from the Brooklyn Futurist Meetup (she covers the future of work and other topics).

Her website can be seen at amyzalman.net.

Cynthia Breazeal

Dr. Cynthia Breazeal is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab. She is also founder and Chief Scientist of Jibo, Inc. She is a pioneer of Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction.

Her research focuses on developing the principles, techniques, and technologies for personal robots that are socially intelligent, interact and communicate with people in human-centric terms, work with humans as peers, and learn from people as an apprentice. She has developed some of the world’s most famous robotic creatures ranging from small hexapod robots, to embedding robotic technologies into familiar everyday artifacts, to creating highly expressive humanoid robots and robot characters.

(taken from her website)

She has been advancing the space of personal robotics and here she talks about the rise of this area.

And do meet Jibo – the world’s first family robot.

Cindy Frewen

Dr Cindy Frewen, FAIA, urban futurist and architect, teaches the Design Futures Workshop and Social Change at the University of Houston graduate program in Strategic Foresight. In addition, she consults, speaks, and writes on the future of cities and design futures, specializing in the intersection of people, technology, and complexity. Clients include UNESCO, US AID, Hallmark Cards, IBM, and Innovaro. Plus she is Chairperson of the Board of the Association of Professional Futurists with 380 members in 33 countries, writes a column for The Kansas City Star newspaper, and serves on the boards of the Kansas City Design Center and the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design.

(taken from her LinkedIn)

Here she is talking about ‘Cities Under Pressure’.

Madeline Ashby

Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She has written narrative scenarios and science fiction prototypes for organizations like Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity, and Tor.com.

Here she is talking about the future of media, the impact of the internet, and the challenges faced by the industries.

Her personal website can be seen at madelineashby.com.

Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop is a tour de force. Now, Cindy doesn’t necessarily profess to be a futurist however I truly think that the work that she is doing to progress thinking about gender and role equality – check out #changetheratio – in the the world and the revolution of real world sex content consumption with makelovenotporn.tv.

Here see Cindy at SXSWi talk about ‘The Future of Porn’.


Sputniko! is a japanese designer/artist who designs products, devices, music and film exploring technology’s impact on everyday life to imagine and speculate on alternative futures. Her work regularly combines technology, feminism and pop culture. She has presented her films and installation works at exhibitions such as MoMA, New York and Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. She has joined MIT Media Lab as an assistant professor from 2013 to start the Design Fictions Group, that investigates how to provoke discussion about the social, cultural, and ethical implications of new technologies through design and storytelling.

Here she is talking about ‘Technology, feminism and pop culture’.

She creates objects, art, and pop music videos to encourage debate. It a pop culture futurism that I’d love to see more of.

Check out Sputniko!’s ‘The Moonwalk Machine – Selena’s Step’.  Here she uses high heels on the lunar surface to explore how feminism and technology collide in the physical and digital worlds.


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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