Are you founding a women geeks group? Then you'll probably need a name. Here are some words/terms/names you could use to show that it is for women.
When choosing a name, it's important to be welcoming to trans women and not just cis women. Additionally, if you want to include genderqueer and/or non-binary-identified people who aren't male in your organization, it's worth thinking about how to choose a name that is inclusive.
- 1 Women
- 2 Ladies
- 3 Female
- 4 Girls
- 5 Grrls
- 6 Gals
- 7 Chicks/Chix
- 8 Dolls
- 9 Sisters
- 10 Feminist
- 11 Divas
- 12 Broads
- 13 Identity references
- 14 Womyn
- 15 Unicorns
- 16 Mother/Mom
- 17 She/Her (female pronouns)
- 18 Miss/Ms/Mrs (female titles)
- 19 XX
- 20 Abbreviation that uses one of the above terms
- 21 Name reference to a famous woman in the field
- 22 Borrowing from other languages
- 23 No gender connotation at all
- Tends to be used in university CS groups
- Popular with Linux distros - Debian Women, FedoraWomen, Ubuntu Women, GnomeWomen, KDEWomen
- (GNOME) Outreach Program for Women
- Women in Drupal - formerly DrupalChix
- PHP Women
- Ruby Women
- Women Who Code
- Oceania Women of Open Tech (OWOOT)
- Probably the most neutral term available now. Less polarizing than other terms.
- Very inclusive to adult women, especially ages 25-120
- Common on restroom signs
- Recommended in journalism by AP Stylebook
- Doesn't rhyme with anything
- Younger women and teenagers don't necessarily associate themselves with the term
- Can feel overly formal and businesslike
- Commonly reappropriated in hip-hop feminism, e.g. Ladies First by Queen Latifah. Has come back into vogue in recent years 
- Can be fun in a retro, ironic way, e.g. "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé
- Commonly used on restroom signs in some places, esp. multicultural urban areas
- More casual and playful than "women"
- Commonly used by college-aged women who might not identify with the term "woman" yet. Widely used by sororities. 
- Offensive in some places and contexts 
- Can feel overly old-fashioned
- Can feel classist
- "Woman" preferred over "lady" in journalism. AP Stylebook says, "lady: Do not use as a synonym for women. Lady may be used when it is a courtesy title or when a specific reference to fine manners is appropriate without patronizing overtones." 
- Association with the correct manners, and gendered rules: e.g. ladylike.
- Inclusive of people who don't feel practically feminine even though they identify as female.
- Often considered disrespectful or demeaning in modern usage. 
- Can be exclusive to trans women due to use by trans-excluding radical feminists to refer exclusively to cis women.
- Black Girls Code (for girls)
- Go Girl, Go for IT (for girls)
- Girls' Programming Network (for girls)
- Girl Develop It
- Girl Geek Dinners
- Geek Girl Tech Conferences
- appropriate for groups intended for ages 5-18
- Off-putting/infantilising to some women
- Used widely in sexualizing contexts, can lead to undesirable web search results
- professional women in male-dominated fields may have strong association between being called a girl and sexist (micro)aggression
- Can be confusing to actual intent of audience
- often paired with "men", making a mix of adult and child words. e.g. "you can choose from men's tshirts, or girl's tshirts". see also T-shirts
- LinuxChix's grrls-only mailing list.
- Rad 90s RiotGrrl zine vibe
- Similar to 'girls', can be off-putting to women
- Can be alienating
- suitability limited to contexts where a read rad 90s RiotGrrl zine vibe is relevant
- Casual, fun
- Similar to 'girls', can be off-putting to women
- Trivialising? Depends on purpose of the group
- Fun, casual, and light-hearted. Playful.
- Fun and empowering to reclaim the word.
- Common in women's tech group names. Easily identifiable as a fun technical women's group.
- Pretty 90s.
- "Chicks" is a trivialising and somewhat sexualized term for women. So using it has the pros/cons of reclamation.
- Can be embarrassing or accidentally offensive to say aloud because it sounds like saying "chicks," e.g. sounds like saying, "Are you going to the Linux Chicks meetup?"
- If referred to by a man verbally, it can cause accidental insult, e.g. "You're a Dev Chick, right?"
- Very informal
- Dolls are actually objects, not people.
- CSters (a university group)
- Not necessarily too casual
- Age-inclusive at both ends
- Not classist or dated
- Free of solid association to the trivializing, sexualizing, objectifying use of words like 'girls' or 'chicks'.
- Suggests a level of closeness that may be offputting for a casual group.
See also Explicitly feminist geek groups
- Geek Feminism
- Feminist Frequency
- explicitly claims a feminist space
- does not exclude feminists who aren't women
- may be alienating to women who are not feminists
- does not work for a woman-only space
- Digital Divas (for girls)
- fun and casual
- does not exclude non-cis women
- may be alienating to women who do not identify as 'divas' and/or traditionally feminine
- may be alienating to women who want to be taken seriously
- may take the attention from the actual content to associations with the word 'diva' (melodrama, physical appearance, grand personas)
- negative term for self-centered, overly dramatic people.
- lends itself to puns
- offensive term in certain spheres.
- Lesbians Who Tech
- Explicitly includes women of that identity
- Can include other people if the group desires
- Can exclude women who are not of that identity in order to focus on the unique intersecting issues of being a woman with that identity in tech
- Excludes women who are not of that identity (who are in other under-served populations), if only by implication
- Even if the group's rules include other people, the name may discourage people (in other under-served populations) who would be welcomed if they joined, from doing any further research on the group
Seen in feminist literature and as a self-identification
- Symbolically removes dependence on men/males
- Not usually taken seriously
- May be taken as a claim of radical feminism
- Term is widely used by Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists and is strongly associated with Transmisogynistic bigotry
From the unicorn law, ie, female geeks supposedly being as rare/mythical as a unicorn.
- The Haecksen miniconf doesn't use it as a name, but has made considerable use of unicorn logos.
- Lends itself well to visuals.
- Fun, different.
- Non-obvious connection to feminism.
- Unicorns/horses/ponies are somewhat feminine-coded: embracing feminine-coded symbols can be powerful
- The term is not well known outside the geek feminism community, and therefore can confuse or alienate people.
- Not explicitly about women.
- Haecksen found that some men missed the irony and were encouraged to actually treat women like unicorns: ie, to photograph them and exclaim over a coveted "unicorn" sighting.
- You will sometimes be mistaken for a pop culture fan group (eg, for My Little Ponies)
- Only a good idea if explicitly for mothers and that is relevant to the group
- Terms for female parent vary widely even within english speaking cultures. Words like mum, mom, mama, noni, nan etc are coded to narrow group who use that term.
She/Her (female pronouns)
- encompasses all who identify with the pronouns she/her
- about as little sexist/infantilising/classist/generational schemata as possible
- use of the word 'her' can produce phrases that are objectifying on the grammatical level
- may produce names that sound more like phrases than names
Miss/Ms/Mrs (female titles)
- Can feel classist and dated.
- Can feel overly formal.
- Negative connotations if used to formulate a woman-specific version of a gender-neutral name.
- Has baggage from a history of women being required to declare their marital status publicly via their title, while men do not.
- Biology reference
- Inherently chromosomal-essentialist: implies that all people with XX chromosomes are women, and that no one without XX chromosomes are women.
Abbreviation that uses one of the above terms
- WoMoz, short for "Women & Mozilla"
- If you can make a nice acronym it can work well
- Can be obscure
Name reference to a famous woman in the field
- Anita Borg Institute
- Grace Hopper Celebration
- Ada Initiative and AdaCamp
- Disreputable Order of Hopperites
- Edinburgh University Hoppers
- Works against erasure, dismissal, and ignorance of women's historical importance in the field.
- Suits familiar naming conventions for institutions and such.
- May be too obscure if you choose a lesser-known name.
- May not be that different if you choose a well-known name.
- May be long.
Borrowing from other languages
- Valid choice for events/groups held in languages other than English
- Obscure for an English audience
- Potentially appropriative
No gender connotation at all
- Seems to be popular with feminist hackerspaces - Double Union, Seattle Attic, Spanning Tree
- Code n Splode
- Lots of flexibility
- Can avoid a connotation that your group intends to be the only women's group with your scope (as opposed to "ProjectName Women" or "CityName Feminist Hackerspace"
- May need a nearly permanent subtitle
- Not obvious in a passing reference that women are the intended audience