An Open Door
Throughout history and across the globe, women’s lives have been about confronting closed doors. Access to political power and religious discourse continues to be determined by gender. Women have learned to improvise by collecting doors, then knocking continuously on them until one opens up.
Often this means tapping into pre-existing situations and capitalizing on information which has been made available to us by men. Web 2.0 technology is a tool shaped by men, but in learning to use it women are introduced to an endless new world of doors that we can just click open. There are no traditional gatekeepers. No rocks to be thrown. No invasively intimate male gazes. Even imprisoned in our own homes, women accessing the internet can report our abuse, call for help, find a safe place, learn job skills, share our stories, organize collectively and start our own businesses.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Wiki and Worldpulse can be of infinite benefit to women. There is no point in arguing with men about gender inequality. The most progressive thing we can do as women is to use what is available to us at present to build institutions that will honor our equality in the future. This means making computers, cell phones, cyber cafes and the internet available to as many women in as many countries as possible. Where service is unavailable, we must construct communications infrastructures. Then, we must train women how to protect themselves online.
I’ve learned about Web 2.0 through the best of teachers: experience. With no one to help me navigate the difficulties of my own life, I turned to Facebook for friendship. That one platform introduced me to hundreds of others like it. Multitudes of doors opened to me! New technologies. Marketing techniques. Prayer circles. Online discussions about public policy. International networks. Writing tips. Organizing guides. Sari shops. People.
One of my goals is to use what I’ve learned to introduce this world of doors to those who aren’t aware of its possibilities. I’d like to develop an online resource bank that would compile resource listings, website links, video, audio and participatory learning tools in an effort to give global and local communities access to information that they don’t currently have. Few sites aggregate resource listings by city or province. I’d focus first on compiling information relevant to the cities of New Orleans, Atlanta, Port-Au-Prince and Banjul because I know them best. I’d need some additional training to accomplish this goal, but here are some doors I would like to open for you:
Resource Bank Categories + example sites