CommUNITY: Turning Up the Volume of Women's Voices
Ten years ago I realized communication with a broader community about energy use in the built environment was a key move in creating change. I took the rather prosaic step of applying for a doctoral program in Rhetoric and Technical Communication so I could study classic and modern persuasive strategies and keep abreast of educational possibilities using technical communication.
I completed my doctorate in 2007, but remain overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of online communication possibilities and underwhelmed with this powerful medium of communication positively effecting issues of social justice and environmental preservation. Recently I was visiting a journalist friend, also of North American Baby Boomer vintage, and learned about World Pulse and PulseWire’s educational initiative.
Am I too old to be considered for Web 2.0 Citizen Journalism training? Perhaps, but I also remember a discussion I had in India at a meeting of South Asia Women in Energy (SAWIE) where women from eight countries of South Asia met to discuss what women could do to conserve energy and impact use of renewable energy. I told a young engineer from Nepal that I was grateful for her attendance and she smiled and said she was glad to see a woman of my age also interested and actively engaged in the topic. SAWIE valiantly attempts to keep women of the region abreast of energy issues, but each participant is doubtless mired in the day-to-day concerns of energy use in her country, her community, and her particular role. Even with online connectivity, it’s been difficult for us to maintain the momentum and pursue the goals established in our conferences.
What startled me about the PulseWire initiative is focus not so much on the specific issue under consideration, but on the ability of women to communicate widely about their concerns. Communication and not just content is the focus. The lead-up commentaries submitted before this application process began were a dramatic airing of thoughts and feelings of women from varied countries giving voice and vibrancy to the global sisterhood. The relatively recent, yet amazing global reach of PulseWire gives me hope that establishing this online community may indeed give us WOMEN’S VOICES writ large enough to create positive change in myriad realms of concern globally.
Despite my doctoral focus on effective communication encompassing technical usage, I find myself feeling as though I’m peering through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars where my goal of engendering activism relating to energy use in the built environment seems far, far away. Voices of Our Future is helping me turn the binoculars around and seeing my personal vision of enhanced perception and use of energy changed by empowering the voices of women, the most powerful change agents on the planet, to effect change. I’m an activist and computer literate, but PulseWire offers hope of dramatically impacting the volume and reach of my voice and that of my global sisters in creating societal change.