My Voice, my Life
I find Web 2.0 exciting because it offers me the rare chance to tell my stories to the world without going through the normal processes of the traditional media. I’m a sub editor with a Kenyan newspaper and has seen stories go through different hands from the writer to the revise editor for years. At times an idea is misinterpreted and the end story turns out to be something the writer can hardly recognise.
At Web 2.0 where I’m the writer, the editor and the publisher, I have the guarantee that my story will be read just as I wanted. Then there are times when I write an article on something I’m passionate about but the editor kills it or slashes it down to a brief because of lack of space. I’m glad that at Web 2.0, there are acres and acres of space and I can tell a new story everyday. Another good thing is that I don’t have to send a proposal to anyone to give me go ahead to write a story. I’ll work uncensored, unrestrained and without limits.
Women’s voices are barely audible in the world because they hardly have space in the traditional media. A scan through Kenya’s daily newspapers shows that about 95 percent of news subjects are men and about 75 per cent of the journalists are males. Women’s issues have been relegated to weekly columns to feign gender balance. Web 2.0 empowers women by giving them a forum to tell their stories their way. Men rarely identify with issues that affect us so we are the best people to tell our own stories.
Women may have made big strides to become part of news writers but very few are in decision making positions within media houses. Consequently, decisions on what runs in the newspapers and aired on TV and radio are made by men. I wish more Kenyan women joined Pulsewire so more stories considered non-stories in the media can make headlines across the world.
Our journalists have never learnt to treat men and women equally when writing news. For example when a female MP is the news subject, they refer her as a “woman MP” and when its a man, he is just an MP. And if a group of thugs is arrested and there happens to be woman among them, you won’t miss this line “.......including a woman”. It is as though we are yet to accept that what a man can do, good or bad, a woman can also do. It is male chauvinism that seeps through our news in subtle ways every day. This kind of discrimination is out of Web.2 where ordinary women tell their stories from their hearts.
I’ve already lined up stories for publishing in my Pulsewire blog, Rauka, and I’m glad that mine is yet another voice set to be heard across the world. And though I may not have my way on all the issues affecting me as a woman, I’ll definitely have my say.