WEB 2.0: A POWERFUL TOOL FOR WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Sharing, coaching and continuity to learn play important roles in social change. Anyone stepping into fulfilling a vision or passion will need to engage with issues and definitely requires a platform to do so. The chosen platform will no doubt affect the extent to which one can fully engage one’s capacity for achieving desired results. As a grassroots woman leader supporting women and working for positive change in my community, I particularly have strong feelings of expectations about Web 2.0 as a media/social tool, technology as well as platform, because it allows for participatory information sharing, facilitates user generated content and encourages collaboration. Of great interest to me also, is that the Web 2.0 application allows and encourages feedback; which is a measure and reflection of the extent of impact, reach or influence accomplished. Consistently, it can enhance the mastery of one’s passions, for instance women’s empowerment.
The World Bank’s definition of empowerment says that “empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform choices into desired actions and outcomes. Owing to social, cultural and religious beliefs and practices in most societies, women have remained untapped resources. They are marginalized and discriminated against, overlooked, unheard, spoken for and hardly seen. They are usually seen as passive recipients rather than active agents of positive change; thus they remain the least empowered group. Social interaction undoubtedly contributes towards improving the status of women and consequently their lives. Web 2.0 is such a handy tool, with high potentials for addressing some of the challenges faced by the women’s empowerment movement. On the platform of Web 2.0, women can now initiate or take action in powerful ways that will affect the quality of their lives as well as the quality of the relationships they have with others. They can be heard and perceived as powerful, have enhanced competence, eliminate gender stereotypes, support one another’s belief system and work, push the edge of becoming visible, make choices, develop the ability to empower themselves beyond the harbors of family and community, and challenge one another to meaningful lives.
On the platform of Web 2.0, I realize that I can find strength to pursue my dreams by connecting with others, and working in concert with them. By getting involved with women across the Globe, my capacities will be built in numerous ways. My voice and work, as well as issues that are of concern to me can be amplified, and I can develop and engage with a network of change-makers around the world, especially women of like passions and visions. I can become better empowered to believe in myself enough to meet my own expectations and those of the people and diverse communities I serve. With Web 2.0, I can now put myself out into the World in such a way that I am perceived as powerful, successful, competent, and as one who can make choices to support others and be supported, and accordingly, become a global citizen.