"VOF WEEK 1"(OPENING HEARTS IN A CLICK)
"Sharing is something more demanding than giving", said writer Mary Catherine Bateson.
Experiences must be the hardest of them all to share, especially if they are bitter or shameful. Most people would rather keep to themselves in a bid to save face and maybe avoid prejudices.
For sometimes now, I have been actively involved in using online resources especially list serves and discussion groups. Coming across Web 2.0, I must admit it is a unique approach: sharing personal experiences. This for a moment, sounded weird but in the end, when you have given an account of your life and read other people's, you realize the relevance of being personal when seeking for solutions to universal issues.
The women's movement, has over the years since inception fought for the empowerment of the womenfolk from around the world using different approaches. Much has been achieved in this regard but there remain a lot more to be done. Truthfully, whatever remains in order for meaningful and impacting solutions to women's problems is a bit far especially in least developed and poor nations.
Emanating from different backgrounds and environments complicates matters especially when blanket solutions are sought after. The essence and concept of sharing personal experiences, is to me a milestone in seeking equity and empowerment for women. In actual sense, every issue starts with an individual before becoming societal and in fact, persons are faces of the society. A personal approach to issues would therefore present a more wholistic solution and also address the uniqueness of matters affecting different people from different environments.
Web 2.0 in these regards, presents the faces of issues that have been talked about in different forums and further makes them real or as it is said, puts faces on the issues. Experts on women and human rights would easily pick the individual issues and in trying to understand and solve them, would be providing solutions to many more who cannot speak for themselves.
Web 2.0 gives people the freedom to express themselves openly without the fear of prejudice or stigmatization. It also satisfies the human feeling of 'security in numbers' as one gets comfort that there are many others going through difficult experiences just like you. It presents the hope that there is always someone to lend you their hearing especially when those close to you seem to have either given up on you or are tired of your problems.
More importantly, Web 2.0 as a new approach demystifies the women's movement that has often seem elitist especially among 'grassroot' women. Most policies and advocacies have often been addressed in big conferences and forums creating the elitist characteristic. The one-on-one sharing regardless of ones background is a fresh and proper approach.
Amazingly, Web 2.0 downloads faster even in the poorest of internet connection. This is helpful considering that those of us from the Southern divide are still grappling with connectivity and accessibility issues. When I joined Pulse Wire, the first story that I read from my country was from a grassroot correspondent from a rural area. It was quite surprising considering the number of women who can access the internet even in urban areas.
I feel that Web 2.0 is not only appropriate but also timely in accelerating the attainment of a just and equitable world for women and humanity as a whole.
Technology is the wheel of our generation but it would only provide meaningful solutions if tailored to fit the specific vehicle.
With proper planning and execution, this is a move in the right direction; a real Voice of the Future!