Technology in our hands: a means to break isolation and silence
Self-esteem is an issue for women. We are expected to fulfill many different tasks involving all sorts of abilities. And we do it. Nonetheless, most of us grow up receiving negative messages about ourselves and women in general. We are dismissed in our intelligence, capacities, beauty, and strength. For most of us is a hard work to recover or to build our self-esteem. A work that continues everyday in one way or another, through all our lives. But we can’t do it alone. We need other women to do it. We need to support each other. I am still doing the work of re-building my self-esteem and this is part of that process.
Isolation is an issue for women. Most of us are or feel isolated in some moment of our lives. It may be because we live in a rural village. It may be because we are housewives and spend our whole day inside the house. It may be for other reasons. I have fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and mood and cognitive problems. I used to be a scientist, working in a research lab. When my baby was a few months old, my research grant terminated and as I was tired of the lab, I quit. I was suddenly at home all day, caring for a little baby in a suburban neighbourhood. I love my son, but I felt isolated. Internet has been critical to break that isolation. It allowed me to keep in touch with people and to continue being an activist in spite of the circumstances that diminished my mobility.
Education is an issue for women. We still claim our human right to education, even to learn to read and write. We still have to fight for our right to learn what we want, to freely choose a career. Technology is still viewed as a male area of knowledge. But we demand our right to be technologically educated. Far from being incapable of understanding new technologies, women are avid for them, to incorporate them in their projects, to give them new uses to improve their lives. To me, WorldPulse is a great opportunity to get the chance to learn how to better use the Web 2.0, how to get new resources.
Silence is an issue for women. We are told not to talk, not to express our opinions, to remain silent. Too often, we are punished for talking. We are impeded in our access to the media. In the end, we are afraid to talk. Audre Lorde was a Black, lesbian, feminist, poet who fought class, sex and heterosexist inequities. She said: “I was going to die […] whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me.” And also “It is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence”. Silence will not protect us. We need to talk, to learn to understand our many different languages and to create one strong voice. This is an opportunity to do it.