Virtual Tools, Concrete Change.
I am part of a generation in which technological progress has eliminated almost all limits to communication. For the first time in history, we can share what is happening with us with a friend in the opposite side of the world instantaneously. We can monitor what is happening in our neighborhood online in the same way we can send a project to a professor in an international university. These new possibilities bring enormous revolutionary potential, as well as brand new opportunities to engage politically, to pressure governments and to make change happen.
It is true, however, that the mainstream information that most of the population receive is still filtered by journalism companies, corporations or political parties - in other words, it is filtered by the ones who hold the power. We need to be aware of that, since women have been excluded from this group throughout history and although we have achieved many progresses, we stil represent a small percentage among the decision-makers.
What most excites me about Web 2.0, therefore, is the fact that it represents an alternative to that. Using Web 2.0 allows us to share opinions, spread information, criticize and debate without demanding anything besides having access to the internet. It provides us virtual tools to make concrete change happen.
This is fundamental to the global women's empowerment movement, in the first place, because it promotes a democratization of information. We can now hear many voices, many versions of the facts, a plurality of opinions, various realities as well as many approaches to these realities. This way, it becomes more difficult to disseminate an oppressive discourse, since there will always be other ways to interpret reality concurring with it and somehow balancing its legitimacy.
To ilustrate with a personal example of empowerment, my blog is part of a global network, the G(irls) 20 Ambassadors, which was also created through Web 2.0 and gave 21 young women (each one from a different country of the G-20, plus one to represent the African Union) the chance to gather in Toronto and write a communiqué to be handed to the G-20 leaders. Besides, we, the G(irls) 20, are working on a project on education of women, regarding mainly access to education, the implementation of gender-sensitive curricula and education on sexual and reproductive health. This project is only doable because, even after the summit in Canada, we can keep connected in our home countries through the internet.
Thus, Web 2.0 has been incredibly empowering for me, for I can make my voice heard through my blog, where I try to share my experiences regarding women's rights, exposing NGO and governmental projects launched in Brazil and analysing the situation of Brazilian women from different perspectives. I am aware of the huge impact a conscient and politically engaged use of Web 2.0 can have on people's lives, minds and attitudes and I am looking forward to take every chance I can to keep fighting for my beliefs and share them with the world through Web 2.0.