VOF Week 1: (Women Extending Hands Across the Globe)
There is a woman in the Congo who cannot gather firewood without fear of attack. All she wants is to go about her daily business building fires to take care of her children. Journalists come and go. They take pictures and write her story; but she knows, as we do, the only way to truly be heard is if she tells her own story. Perhaps, if she could share it with other women, women who understand how it feels, they may hold the solution she seeks. They may provide solace. They may even need her shoulders to stand on one day, to find the courage to speak out too.
I have long held the vision of bringing diverse women together, to find a way to dissolve our barriers of ethnicity, culture and language to befriend and to support. Only a few years ago, it seemed like an impossible dream. Today, with the advent of Web 2.0, women are daily extending their hands across the globe towards each other. I am excited by the possibilities for peace that these growing networks of friendship and understanding may bring.
PulseWire employs Web 2.0 in the best possible manner for women. Here lives aren’t boiled down to one superficial and transitory moment on a wall comment or status update. Women’s voices are profoundly expressed, as they need to be, in heartfelt stories of inspiration, visions shared and obstacles overcome. I feel the pulse of these women gliding through their journals as if they were sat in the next room.
For the global women’s empowerment movement this new face of web 2.0 provides an unprecedented vehicle for self-expression. Women’s voices have been neglected for years. We are more likely to speak with emotion and to get to the heart of the matter so we can solve the problem, move on and go about our daily business of caring for our families and communities quickly. Many of us are too busy to have time to tackle bureaucracy and engage in long drawn out debates. We want our needs met and we need them met now.
Unfortunately, it is precisely for these reasons that women’s voices have been silenced, or instead tamed. Being too emotional, too sensitive and too opinionated. These are the labels given to those of us who speak openly without necessarily considering the long-term political implications of what might happen if we do. Yet there are some women who continue to speak up every day about conflict, disease, hunger, abuse and other difficult issues because they know that they have to.
Thanks to PulseWire, these brave voices are now being heard on the world stage and I hear them. Each time I see through another woman’s eyes, I am empowered and encouraged to speak a little louder myself and to find the courage to address issues I’d once felt was not my place to discuss, before now.