Laura Carter



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I’m a PhD student in the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project at the University of Essex. I’m researching the ways in which gender stereotypes are encoded into data-driven decision-making systems in the UK public sector: my research focuses on the use of data assemblages in children’s social services in England. My supervisors are Professor Lorna McGregor and Dr Roisin Ryan-Flood.

I’m also occasionally a gender consultant and advisor, with specific expertise in human rights, and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. Past and current clients include Frontline AIDS, Edge Effect, and the World Bank Group. Email me for more information.


May 2021: “In the end, it is all about power”: a blog post reporting on DataKind UK’s Watch Party event on the film ‘Coded Bias.’

July 2020: Imperfect Models of the World: Gender Stereotypes and Assumptions in Covid-19 Responses: part of the Essex Dialogues on Covid-19, Law and Human Rights project.

May 2020: Take a seat: the AI will be with you shortly: a blog post on DataKind UK’s Ethics Book Club on AI and medicine.

November 2019: Book Review: The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism by Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias for LSE Review of Books.

April 2019: Google’s pay audit and the meaning of ‘equality’, a blog post for the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project.

Conference presentations

June 2021: ‘The Turing Way Guide to Ethical Research’ with Malvika Sharan (Turing Way Community Manager), RightsCon2021, online (also available on YouTube)

October 2020: ‘Cloudy With Silver Linings: Including people with diverse SOGIESC in Humanitarian AI’, with Emily Dwyer, co-director of Edge Effect, Communicating with Disaster-Affected Communities (CDAC) Forum 2020, online. Our 10-minute presentation is here (from about 35:05).

May 2020: ‘Tech Winners and Losers: What’s in Your Backpack?’, with Isobel Talks (PhD candidate, University of Oxford), at Civic Participation in the Datafied Society, Cardiff, UK (cancelled due to COVID-19)

November 2019: ‘Prescripted living: gender stereotypes and surveillance technologies,’ Workshop on Feminist Data Protection, Forum Privetheit, Berlin, Germany

March 2019: ‘Gender stereotyping in machine learning: a technical necessity or a human rights violation?’ Cambridge International Law Journal Conference, Cambridge, UK

March 2019: ‘Gender stereotyping in international human rights law,’ Human Rights Triangle Conference, London UK

Work history

From 2011 to 2019, I worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, of which six years was spent in research and policy advice roles covering the rights of LGBTI people and of human rights defenders.

I have also worked as a caseworker for domestic violence and hate crime cases, a freelance maths tutor, a bartender, and an assistant language teacher for elementary and junior high school students in rural Wakayama, Japan.

I have an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

Open science

I am an active contributor to the Turing Way open-source book project. Guidance on how to join the community of contributors is in the project repository.

I’m a mentor in the third cohort of Open Life Science. I’m excited to be mentoring the HausaNLP project leaders, who are building an open source community that promotes natural language processing work in the Hausa language.

I was part of the second cohort of Open Life Science Fellows, which ran from September to December 2020. Together with Sophia Batchelor and Ismael Kherroubi Garcia, I built a community of practice for the Turing Way’s Guide to Ethical Research. The Guide aims to build open-source resources for reproducible, responsible and ethical data science, and a community to put these resources into practice. This project built on work I did while based at the Alan Turing Institute in London as an Enrichment Student from January to September 2020.

Board and advisory work

I’m a trustee of the Feminist Review Trust, which allocates around GBP 25,000 to feminist projects worldwide annually. I also volunteered as a screener for the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community’s COVID-19 grants programme in September-October 2020, where we allocated EUR 28,000 to lesbian*-led groups in crisis across the region.

I am on the DataKind UK Ethics Committee: amongst other things, we organise data ethics book clubs in London and online every couple of months.

I was on the Steering Committee for the European Commission’s Transgender people in the EU study, which ran from 2018 to 2020. The findings from the study, which covered the discrimination and harassment faced by trans people in the EU, and the impact of different legal gender recognition procedures on the lives of trans people, were published in the report Legal gender recognition in the EU: the journeys of trans people towards full equality in June 2020.

Other projects

I run Data/Feminism, a weekly(ish) newsletter that looks at algorithms, data and technology from a feminist perspective. The archives are online.

I wrote a satirical twitter bot that gives individual self-care advice for coping with structural problems.

I contributed to the Design Justice Network’s zine #5, How to make a local Design Justice node.

My tiny plot in a North London community garden has an Instagram.

Contact me