Technology shapes the world, and collaborative learning environments known as makerspaces offer tremendous opportunity for innovation and invention. Co-ed community makerspaces lack female membership and participation. If women do not participate, they are being left behind; therefore, there is a need to understand female techmakers who persist in co-ed community makerspaces. This study was viewed through the socio-political conservative feminist framework. It aimed to explore why the participants were attracted to co-ed makerspaces; challenges and barriers they encountered and how they overcame them; and supports and strategies used to persist in co-ed community makerspaces. This study may interest current and future female techmakers and anyone seeking increased female participation in co-ed makerspaces. This study utilized a qualitative existential-phenomenal research design. The researcher interviewed 6 persistent women techmakers who were long-term members of co-ed community makerspaces. The interviews were conducted both face-to-face and virtually using a semi-structured interview protocol consisting of 3 primary questions and 10 as-needed follow-up questions to elicit candid accounts of their lived experiences as female techmakers in co-ed community makerspaces. Five conclusions resulted from this study. First, natural tendencies such as extraordinary curiosity and natural attraction to electronic technology played an important role in the participants’ attraction to techmaking. Second, the participants were attracted to their makerspaces because they offered meaningful personal connections. Third, inadvertent sexism existed in the participant’s makerspaces but not oppression. Fourth, the participants were self-determined. Fifth, early supports and role models inspired or helped the participants in their techmaking pursuits. This study’s findings yielded three recommendations. First, the researcher recommends that adults encourage and support extraordinarily curious children. Second, educational policy and curriculum around makerspaces should include talking points to highlight meaningful social interactions as an attraction point. Finally, the conservative feminist framework has value when unpacking male and female social relations in male-dominated fields and should be taught more widely in the area of technology.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Women in technology; Makerspaces -- Case studies; Technological innovations

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;