We are currently 6 days into the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. This activism aims to raise awareness and mobilise action against all forms of violence against women (VAW).
There is an excellent campaign being run as part of this called ‘Take Back the Tech‘ – which is all about empowering women online, looking at safety, privacy, tech literacy, and using online tools to promote activism that opposes VAW.
I am very passionate about us recovering both the history of women in tech, and in women participating the building as well as the consuming of the new worlds we’re building.
I have written an article for the forthcoming issue of Subtext magazine on what I term the ‘Digital Ceiling’. To paraphrase a section from that:
A large part of the history of feminist struggle has been the fight for participation in the public sphere; for the vote, for a say in politics, economic rights, for a voice, and worth in the public arena. Web 2.0 and new online tools are creating a new public space – in such a fast moving medium, we cannot afford to be left behind. Women have also been erased from a male authored history; The first computer programming language was named Ada, after the founder of modern computing; Ada Lovelace. Women played a key role in code-breaking at Bletchley Park during WWII, in 1942 the ENIAC (the first general-purpose electronic computer) was programmed by six women, and Grace Hopper led the development of one of the first modern programming languages, COBOL. Women are the majority of online users, and consumers of tech. But we are disgustingly under-represented in the tech industries, and that needs to change.
(The rest of that article can be read in the Autumn/Winter issue of Subtext, (coming soon)). Tech is also proving to be an invaluable activist tool, from trafigura, to the Iran election, the online world is uncovering and proliferating activists’ content like never before. We need to be in this.
Why else am I writing this blog? Because these 16 days of action are also about VAW. VAW is an incontrovertible fact, I’m not going to offer further evidence on that, but I do have a reading of the first draft of a play this Thursday, a piece called Eismas, as part of the ‘Littlepalooza!‘ festival, at the Crypt Gallery near St. Pancras:
Image reproduced with permission from Scary Little Girl Productions
“Feel the quick of the modern city fall away as you descend into the crypts below St Pancras Parish Church. Discover some of the best new writers of contemporary gothic in this evening festival among the ancient graves and catacombs. Music, theatre and story telling combine to make this a thrilling presentation of young blood amongst the oldest of bones.”
Eismas is a play about the violence done by monetising human beings. My Littlepalooza! piece is a half hour rehearsed reading from the second act and is being billed as:
A startling piece of spec-fic theatre, that imagines a future Europe in which a single child policy has shocking repercussions on the female population.
The piece will be read at 6.15pm and tickets to see it are only £3. Please do come and support both the Littlepalooza! festival (click the link for the full evening price, and other days’ events) and my piece in development. I would love any feedback on the play, and the massive twist that you may or may not gather from the first half hour. If you need more persuading, here’s a monologue from it – don’t worry there are no spoilers (read by me though, the actress has a much better accent!)
It would be brilliant to see people at the event on Thursday (though don’t look out for red hair any more, it’s much darker now!) and if you do make it, please come and chat to me after the reading, I’d love to hear what you think (good or bad) before I go into a massive redraft over Christmas.
And finally, do click below for more info and actions on Take Back the Tech:
Pass it on.