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International Women's Day (IWD)

On Thursday 8 March 2007, International Women's Day, twelve female geeks, feminist techies marched across the virtual streets of the internet.

Click on the image to see screen shot of part of our irc action chat session!

Or Download and view a log of one of the IRC sessions in PDF

Or Download the 3 minute movie (26MB): a clip from the screencast of our IRC march on 8 March: Video best viewed with Quicktime on OS X and Windows. We are working on converting the file to a more universal format but this is taking a lot of time, so for now please use Quicktime or it's codecs in the media player of your choice.

The plan was for all of us to join an IRC channel simultaneously, to wish everyone a "Happy Women's Day", sprinkle a few slogans, round off with a list of women we appreciate, and sign off!

For those not familiar with IRC: the Internet Relay Chat protocol is the original digital collective meeting space for many-to-many text messaging. It has been around for almost 20 years and is used for everything from team-work to file sharing.

In preparation of the "march" each of us had chosen a well-known woman for our nick (nickname), set our quit message to something in the spirit of this day, and had a text file with chants and slogans at hand so as to be able to cut and post them in a flash. Just before parting from the channel we pasted an URL of the website explaining our march.

Naturally we were deftly kicked and banned from most servers as a result of our actions. One set of tech operators apologised and lifted the ban when they realised we weren't bots: they found us so co-ordinated they couldn't believe it to be otherwise. We were however logging in, out and back to our base-camp channel with so much excitement, that I think there is room for improvement next year :).

Some quotes from the action:

I had fun, too, even if I got a little lost. And I swear some people started cheering with us, but maybe it was my imagination :-)
"Hey, wait, not bots"
Nothing like being banned by half the channels!! :)
audrey aka simoneDeBeauvoir! (i wish! hahaha)
I even exchanged some words with someone in a channel.
They said "nobody celebrates that"
At a certain point I ended up at a channel when all just left.
One person said, "What was that all about?!' and followed by: "And who is Mom?"
One comment I noticed, but I can't remember which channel it was on,
was someone saying, 'I love irc theatre'

Virtual March Preparation

We spent a few hours before the march climbing over tech obstacles like a screencast applictaion crashing, speakers with feedback, networked wall outlets with no ping, voip not working and doing some test runs on channels we'd set up for simulation purposes. With laughter and sweaty armpits, how could anyone imagine we weren't real :)? This action was brought to you by Gaba in San Fransisco, Tali in St. John's, Liz in London, Sara in Amsterdam, Claudia, Nancy, Audrey and Donna in Rotterdam, Aileen and Ushi in Linz, Reni in Graz and Helen in Brisbane.

Links to more of our IRC logs

Our alter-egos (nicks)

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

George Eliot, novelist, lived from 1819 to 1880. From an early age, her unusual intelligence resulted in conflicts with her family and her environment, leaving her often lonely and full of self-doubt throughout her life. Even though she gained acceptance into the literary circles of her time on the strength of her writing, contemporary authors commented disparagingly on her plain outward appearance, saying she had "a face like a horse". Because she was living with a man still married to another woman, she was not accepted in polite society. Her writing bears witness to a capacity for keen observation and empathy as well as great intelligence, but her biography bears witness to the loneliness of a woman who does not conform to anyone's expectations.

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir because, apart from obvious reasons I think she writes beautifully (fiction and non-fiction) and reading Second Sex made me approach the world differently... in short a big impact on me. In addition, if she were alive she would be marching through irc with us...

Julie Ruin

Julie Ruin is the title of the solo album of Katleen Hanna, the singer of Bikini Kill. She inspired a lot of girls bands and kind of started the whole "riot gay hard core rock scene" around the world. I choose that nickname cause I saw lots of girls that would have low self seem, or had problems in accepting their own sexual orientation and the music made them dance and see their lives differently.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper was the first person to win the "Man of the Year" award from the Data Processing Management Association. I guess when DPMA created the award, they didn't think a woman would win it. Grace Hopper became known as The Grand Lady of Software and Grandma COBOL for co-inventing the programming language COBOL. In her long life (1906-1992) she said some great things that demonstrates to me that she was a sharp creative thinker and believed in treating people with respect and fareness. I find that inspiring. Grace Hopper Quotes.


A mathematician around 400 in Alexandria before the "dark era" and she contributed many inventions... Link

Olive Schreiner

A South Afican writer and activist, who struggled against colonialism, war and oppression of women at the turning of the 20th century.


Peaches writes, plays and produces all her electro punk music. Peaches used to be Merrill Beth Nisker, an uncertified private elementary school teacher and librarian.


My mother, a person who I admire because she has stood up for women's rights all her life. As a single mother with two daughters she is a woman who has refused to subject herself to traditional womens roles, who fought for parents right to work and who never stopped showing her love.

Ada Byron Lovelace

During a nine-month period in 1842-1843, Ada translated Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea's memoir on Charles Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte is best known for her short story The Yellow Wall-Paper (1892) based on her own bout with mental illness and misguided medical treatment, and her book "Women and Economics" (1898) a plea for female economic independence. What I find inspiring about her, is the determination to keep writing and telling her story despite all the pressure from the men (even well meaning men like her husband) around her to "rest" and refrain from intellectual activity for the good of her health, in the end this rest cure pushes her character over the edge in the book. I am quite interested in how mental illness is percieved and how women were treated as a result in the past (and I'm sure it still happens in a more subtle way, e.g. pms), almost as if being a woman was a mental illness in itself, the word hysteria coming from woom I believe, they used to think the womb travelled around the womans body and made her hysterical.

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman because she said: If I can not dance it is not my revolution.

Freda Stark

Freda Stark was a New Zealand dancer who gained notoriety in the 1930s when her lover, Thelma Mareo, died of a drug overdose. Thelma's husband, the conductor Eric Mareo, was convicted of her murder in a much-publicised court case, in which Freda Stark was the star witness. During the Second World War Freda entertained troops at the Wintergarden cabaret and nightclub at the Civic Theatre in Auckland, earning the nickname Fever of the Flee. Inspired by a scene in an American movie, she danced painted in gold, clothed only in a G-string and feather headdress. I chose her because she lived her life the way she wanted to live it despite the social conditions of the time.

Kathy Acker

"We don't have a clue what it is to be male or female, or if there are intermediate genders. Male and female might be fields which overlap into androgyny or different kinds of sexual desires. But because we live in a Western, patriarchal world, we have very little chance of exploring these gender possibilities."

Milena Jesenska

Milena was born in 1896 in Prague, she was a well known journalist. In 1937 she joined the famous Pritomnost magazine to comment on the political situation of her day with impressive peices. From 1939 onwards, together with Harold Stovin and Joachim von Zedtwitz, she organized the escape of people from Czechoslovakia who were on the run from the Nazis. She was killed in the concentration camp in Ravensbrueck. She is most known for being Franz Kafka's partner and translator, while her courageous deeds in support of political refugees have been invisible. In 2005, the Jewish Cultural Center in Vienna dedicated an exhibition to her and her courage, entitled "Von der Kunst stehenzubleiben" / "About the Ability (Art) to Stand (or: not to fall down)".

Banner Actions

Click on the images to see some banner actions!


On this day we remembered Ungdomshuset, Copenhagen!

In 1910 the first international women's conference was held in Copenhagen in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69. This building is laidened with history and herstory and eventually became known as Ungdomshuset or Youth House. In recent years there has been a big legal struggle to keep this building as Ungdomhuset, but just this week on March 1st, 2007 the residents were evicted. Ungdomshuset is now torn down and demolished (March 5th, 2007). An 'International Women's Day' was established at that first international women's conference in that building. The motion was submitted by the German Socialist Clara Zetkin. On IWD, 2007 we remember Ungdomhuset.


As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!" (James Oppenheim)

Read the full poem and more about the poem.