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Access to Freedom - Web 2.0 A Journey to Emancipation

Photo Credit: "Color of Freedom", Farah Moriam, AUW National Photo Carnival 2013, Asian University for Women

This is a story of emancipation – Web 2.0. The world has been revolutionized by the trading of ideas that internet access has facilitated. From education to agriculture, there are no avenues left untouched and there is a reason why this is the case. The outreach provided by simple Web 2.0 technology has reached homes in urban and rural Bangladesh in ways that any other media never has. The traditional notion of women remaining in the domestic sphere, hidden behind closed doors is much harder to enforce today because of the connectivity internet and communication access has provided. Blogging, social networking, websites and videos all create discourse and bring the world inside the home. The home becomes part of the global platform.

The One Billion Rising campaign by the VDay movement promoted the participation of women in the force to end violence against women. The key message of the campaign was to urge women to take up space, to not remain silent and tell their stories to the world. This is exactly what Web 2.0 is doing! By bringing the personal story to the world, women are taking up space, they are making their voices heard and they are rising. Today, more women are joining the public sphere than ever before. As writers, businesswomen, teachers, students, doctors and advisers – the network is providing access to a support groups, global mentorship relationships and knowledge partners – resources which women have lacked in the past. These resources are essential in breaking the glass ceiling that hold women in.

Internet has allowed me to learn and grow. I am a reader and a writer. I observe perspectives and Web 2.0 has given me access to a world completely designed by perspectives. Popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have assisted me in organizing tournaments, events and running clubs. My blog has given me a window to be myself – without judgments, without expectations, without the bindings of the material world around me.

Web 2.0 gives one freedom. This freedom is powerful. It crosses national borders and domestic walls – it is what will give women the power to act, to resist, to speak, to be heard, to be their best. The global women’s empowerment movement needs to reach every home and give women and men the tools to build a gender sensitive society. Organizations and programs such as the Bangladesh Women Lawyer’s Association and Women in Public Service Project run by the Woodrow Wilson Institute give women from all backgrounds the access to legal aid, advocacy tools, policy solutions, support groups and most essentially a forum to share their stories in. These services are then reinforced by local and international offices that run shelter homes, provide legal support, organize training programs and help women learn their own potential. This is the future of the global movement. Web 2.0 is the solution.

Women In Public Service Project, Summer Leadership Institute at Asian University for Women, August 2012

Comments

Sharontina's picture

Colors!

I can see the bright colors in you that will make the lives of other women colorful.

Stay blessed

Merlin Sharontina

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Thank you

Hi Sharontina,

Thank you very much for your warm wishes.

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

ola.mahadi's picture

sky is the limt

We as women no more feel weak and hopless we have other sistters mothers and doughters a click a way to helo us to share us our hopes, dreams and happness.
Great post
I was here
Ola

It is never too late to try make your way to your dream and left up your expectation.
Sudanes Women Building Peace
www.suwepmovement.org

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Limitless

You are absolutely right Ola! With access to these technologies and some training on it's use, women all over the world are already transforming their lives and communities. Women have started revolutions, spread the message of peace, started constructive dialogue - which I believe is the answer to all of world's problems. Here's to a peaceful future for all!

Thank you for your wishes,

Regards,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

torilynnfox's picture

Motivating

What a motivating and inspirational message. It makes me want to start a blog! I love the internet and the way it promotes freedom of speech and involvement. The fact that anyone, anywhere, can connect to people all over the world and really change their lives for the better is so inspiring. Keep up the good work and thank you so much for sharing with us!

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Thank you

Hi,

Thank you so much for your kind comments. You really should consider starting a blog - it is a wonderfully liberating experience. But what is definitely more amazing is being able to get feedback from and connect to all of you. Freedom of speech, involvement and tolerance for constructive dialogue are so important! I am inspired everyday by the stories I hear, the lives such motivated people share with us.

Best

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

I love your comment "The home becomes part of the global platform"--it has become so much harder to enforce women's isolation, which is what has kept us from becoming unified and raising our voices. Powerful and beautifully written!

Kind regards,

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much, Rachael!

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

wowitsjackie's picture

Taking up space

HI Raiya,

Thanks for sharing this post; what a great notion of the power of Web 2.0 to provide an outlet for women to be themselves and take up space by making their presence known! This idea of bringing women and their stories front and center is precisely the breath of fresh air traditional media and journalism needs.

Thanks,

Jackie

Hi Jackie

You're right, it is a wonderful experience to be able to see women stepping onto platforms and expressing themselves. We all have such brilliant insights and all unique. This contribution is ESSENTIAL for the world to be a better place.

Thanks,

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Monica09's picture

Well-written

I love reading your articles! You have included a lot of real-life cases and highlighted important issues, such as reaching women who are unable to venture out of homes.

Keep writing!

Best wishes,
Monica

Thank you so much for taking your time out to listen to my stories, Monica. I loved reading yours!

Best wishes,

Monica

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Hesychia's picture

Freedom is Powerful

Dear Raiya ~

Your writing is powerful and beautiful! You have stated it so well that freedom is powerful and Web 2.0 provides the opportunity for freedom.

Good luck with continuing the path of your dreams and vision!

Hesychia

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Freedom

Dear Hesychia,

Thank you very much. I hope these words turn into actions which are more positive, more embracing, more helpful to the world. I look forward to hearing from you and learning more from you.

Best,

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Hesychia's picture

Mutual Learning

My dear Raiya ~

The learning is mutual in WorldPulse! I am very grateful for that. Hopefully, as you and your dream move forward, the actions will form in the ways you want them to do. What a beautiful opportunity awaits you!

With love ~
Hesychia

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