World Pulse's Greatest Hits: 2013
"When I first heard about the World Pulse website I ran home to check it out. I felt like was in a country where all the ladies are rulers and our defense forces are the voices of girls around the globe. World Pulse is different from all the other websites, connecting women so they can work on a massive level. Once I thought, 'Why nobody change the things?' Then I realized, why can't that nobody be me?" —Mahrukh Pasha, Pakistan
Today, the women of World Pulse's growing network (60,000 strong from 190+ countries) are improving over 2.2 million lives. With new recognition, awards, and exponentially increasing impact, World Pulse is one step closer to facilitating a digital vocal uprising for global transformation powered by millions of women on the ground from every region of the world.
Here are a few highlights from 2013:
Leading in the Technology Sector
- World Pulse played a key role in a groundbreaking report called Women and the Web which provides key metrics, analysis, and recommendations for bridging the gendered digital divide and providing greater Internet access and benefits to women globally. The report issues a call to action to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries from 600 million today to 1.2 billion in 3 years. World Pulse's empowerment methodologies are endorsed in multiple recommendations.
- As a result of the findings of the report, Hillary Clinton announced World Pulse's new partnership with Intel to bridge the digital divide for five million women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years. World Pulse will provide the online communications platform that will sustain women’s engagement and empowerment online once they have been trained in basic digital literacy skills through Intel.
- In recognition of our innovative approach using technology to empower women, World Pulse was awarded a Next Century Innovator Rockefeller award and named a finalist for SXSW Interactive Awards.
- Researchers at California State University used qualitative studies with World Pulse's online community to release a preliminary Voicing Online report to better understand what conditions empower women online. Although the report revealed that women's experiences with voice and empowerment online are complex, it found that the communicative component of their online experience—their interactions with others—plays a primary role in their empowerment.
- In December we embarked on our $1.2M Next Generation technology platform upgrade, which will put in place state-of-the-art infrastructure to reach millions of women women and will utilize low bandwidth and mobile capabilities to bring them a global voice. We are working with partners to build out (based on learnings over the past five years) the features that will support the mobilization needs of grassroots women. The new communication platform will also link women’s organizations and networks to decrease fragmentation, enable collaboration, and speed up change.
Speaking Truth to Power
- We crowdsourced and channeled thousands of testimonies and solutions from grassroots women to influential forums to keep them accountable to women's realities on the ground. Last year we delivered voices to the G20, the White House, the International Women’s Climate Summit, and the UN. We also channeled stories to media outlets such as Huffington Post, CNN, Chime for Change, and National Geographic with a combined readership reach of 85 million.
- In June, World Pulse voices from the Congo influenced a decision by the US State Department to appoint a US Special Envoy to help peace negotiations there.
- World Pulse assisted in developing the preamble for the first ever Global Alliance on Media and Gender resolution hosted by UNESCO. Input from our global community resulted in key adaptations to the resolution, including references to supporting women with disabilities.
- Thanks to our new speaker's roster, World Pulse grassroots voices took the stage at conferences from the Women Deliver Conference, to Clinton Global Initiative, the Social Good Summit, TEDx, the Global Alliance on Media and Gender, and more.
Growing a New Wave of Vocal, Empowered Leaders
- In 2013 we increased the number of returning visitors to WorldPulse.com by 30% and tripled our number of highly active online community members.
- 60% of online community members who responded to our recent survey reported being inspired to take action to speak up and create change in their communities—including changing laws, taking to the street to protest corruption, and educating girls.
- Through their newfound visibility and networking on World Pulse.com, dozens of grassroots women in 2013 won major awards, scholarships, speaking opportunities, and launched new programs benefiting women and girls.
- Our annual digital empowerment and citizen journalism training program finished with a 100% completion rate. To date, we have introduced over 2,300 grassroots women leaders from 143 countries to the basics of social media, and have provided advanced training in digital empowerment to 120 grassroots women leaders from 45 countries.
- A new partnership with Sylvia Global Media provided our citizen journalism graduates with training as hosts of their own digital radio and video shows in their own languages, and resulted in dozens of new women's programs from Kenya to Pakistan.
- Women of our network are beginning to redefine development agendas. In eastern Congo, for example, where only 2% have Internet access, over 500 women leaders are using World Pulse to ignite a ‘Hero Women’ movement. Uniting across ethnicities, they designed a plan for a peaceful and sustainable Congo, and delivered to the World Bank and the UN a multi-million dollar funding request to implement their own proposal. With 70% of Congolese participants reporting an increase in empowered leadership, they have set a groundbreaking example for the women’s movement.
So, What's Next?
Community Powered and Community Led
In 2014, we will continue the exciting process of building the technical infrastructure needed to reach and sustain a vocal, online community of millions of women speaking for themselves. We will continue to grow our online community leadership roles and preserve the safe, supporting culture that enables a critical mass of women on the ground to manage, lead, and grow our network. We believe this is true sustainability and scalability.