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Web 2.0: connecting women and raising awareness about human rights

Six years ago, a friend of mine invited me to create a website called Desabafo de Mae (translation:“mothers relief or mothers outburst”), where women could share their doubts and experiences about motherhood, education, books and plays for children. The project died a couple of years later but the social network we created is still alive and growing day after day thanks to the Web 2.0. This whole experience changed the way I used to think about my career as a journalist and, also, my role as a mother.

Today I don´t write an article to my readers, I write an article with my readers. We exchange opinions, point of views and knowledge by using tools as facebook, twitter and blogs (comments). I can upload an interview – YouTube videos or podcasts - in my blog. No cuts, no edition. The essence is there. The article is the result of an intense collaboration between journalist and readers. We practice collaborative citizen journalism.

Web 2.0 holds a world of possibilities. If I have a blog, facebook or twitter I can put my ideas out there. Why talk just about myself if I can share what I know and what I am learning? Let’s use these tools to raise awareness about children´s rights and welfare, human´s rights, education, domestic violence, racism, bullying and healthy issues. One single mother, like me, won´t reach far away, but dozen, hundreds, thousands of mothers will. Web2.0 in many ways empowers women allowing them to learn more about their rights, increasing their knowledge in areas such as education, culture, healthy and political issues. If we know better we do better and raise better children, adults, citizens.

For example, the coverage on subjects related to children’s rights and welfare has increased in the media. In Brazil in 2003, over 105,000 articles were published by 50 newspapers. Although, the subject is published by major sources, many Brazilian mothers do not really understand the law’s importance and meaning in their everyday lives. Also, children themselves, who could take better advantage of these laws, have difficulty translating the ECA laws to their own lives. By using tools as blogs, facebook and twitter we could promote and deepen discussion not only about child welfare - but also about racism, domestic violence, education, healthy and political issues - through the creation of collaboration among bloggers (mothers), professionals specializing in this topics, and web journalists. I believe these empowers women to use their social network for a good cause and, also, encourages them to learn more about their own rights and the rights of their own children.

Comments

MaDube's picture

Nice

Great article Sueli. I like the part when you said 'No cuts, no edition. The essence is there.' That's the beauty of blogging, facebook, twitter. You say it as you feel it and there is no self- censorship.

katyrdz's picture

horizontal collaboration

Hi Sueli. I agree with you when you say we need to use the Web2.0 to share our knowledge and ideas with others in order to give more power to our social movements. This is the only way in which we can raise awareness on topics we are interested in, since we already know the big media enterprises are not interested in these stories.

CindyColes's picture

An important message

Great article Sueli!

You make an interesting observation when you talk about writing an article with your readers. I agree that journalism is more engaging when it's collaborative.

You also touch on why empowering women is so important to addressing global issues: "If we know better we do better and raise better children, adults, citizens."

This is such an important message - thank you!

Cindy Coles

AmyC's picture

Very personal

What an excellent personal experience! You are already truly involved in collaborative citizen journalism and know how to use it.

I would have liked a clearer explanation in the last paragraph about the laws you refer to - what are ECA laws?

sueli sueishi's picture

About ECA

Hi Amy

ECA stands for Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente, that means "children and young adult´s rights" signed in Brazil on July 13th (1990) to protect by law their rigths.

http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/L8069.htm (official page, in Portuguese)

Sueli

Potter's picture

A Unique Perspective

Sueli, You bring a unique and very valuable voice to this dialog. As a bi-cultural immigrant, you are in a unique position as an observer and writer. I love your idea of collaborative journalism. You really seem to appreciate how important it is to bring together multiple viewpoints on racism, domestic violence, education, health and political issues. I also appreciate your comment about using social networks to encourage women to learn not only about their own rights, but those of their children. I loook forward to reading more of your writing!

sueli sueishi's picture

Diversity

Potter

thanks for your kind words.

As a mother of two boys, I do believe it is important to know more and more how to spread the word about violence against women, in the same time.. racism, education and health are issues that we deal with on daily basis.. my boys are multiracial (japanese, american and swiss) and they have to learn how important diversity is for the world and, also, to respect diversity.

I hope to write more about it soon.
Sueli

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