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VOF Week 1: (Raising our voices)

What excites me the most about Web 2.0 is definitely the human aspect of it- instead of reading dry information about a subject, I can interact with people, listen to their stories, learn to understand their perspectives, ask questions, give feedback and participate directly in the dialogue. Web 2.0 allows us to make close connections, access places and people around the globe, to connect, interact and unite around issues we feel passionate about. Instead of being passive receivers of information, we create the content of our interactions ourselves: The Internet brought us access to information, Web 2.0 gives us a voice.

And that's exactly why I see Web 2.0 as an important tool for women's empowerment. Web 2.0 transgresses boundaries, both geographical and conceptual, like class, race or gender. Issues related to women's subordination are personal in nature: the home, the family, the body, and are often not discussed in public. With Web 2.0 we don't depend on states, media machines or news agencies to tell us what is important and what not, we can set the agenda ourselves, express the issues important to us and interact in a truly democratic way. Unlike news and one-way-information, nobody needs to speak on behalf of others or claim to have the only valid truth- it gives rise to different voices, different opinions and perspectives. We connect as equals, which is probably a more feminine way of organising as opposed to rigid hierarchies: Kings and presidents have exactly the same space on Facebook as I do, what they make out of it depends on how active they are.

Women's empowerment requires unconventional ways- for decades we have tried to gain influence through the existing power system. Yet people in power are very reluctant to share their privileges, as long as they have the means to control the system. So gender discrimination was cloaked as being a private matter, sporadic, or just a 'normal' part of the culture. Web 2.0 is a possibility for women (and other marginalised groups) to lift their issues up on the agenda, make themselves heard and visible, to exchange experiences and expertise, to network and organise for their cause.

The sheer choice and variety of Web 2.0 interaction is fascinating. When I flick through my local newspaper, I see only a few issues that interest me and my opportunities to react are slow and controlled by others. With Web 2.0 I choose and the platform myself, I can speak up for myself without the obstacles and limitations of traditional channels, and create a community that shares my visions. It gives me access to interact with and learn from people I wouldn't otherwise have met, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. As an activist for human rights and empowerment, it is essential for me not only to read about people in different locations, but directly interact with them and share insights, ideas and inspiration.

Comments

Rose Of Sharon's picture

Raising Our Voices

Dear Nicea,

Indeed you are right, Web 2.0 gives us opportunities we have never ever had before. Everyone is equal and we can speak about the things that are near and dear to our hearts as individuals. Through Web 2.0 we can become women to empower other women all over the entire globe to do the same. With hope, it will excellerate the ways we can be of help to one another in so many ways that they are beyond number. Beyond space, beyond all the barriers we faced before, it is without a doubt the beginning of true freedom.

Blessings & Love,
Rose Of Sharon

Maria de Chirikof's picture

agree

It is the opportunity and what we do with it will help create the changes we want. I really love reading everyone's posts even though I don't have time to reply to them all but am glad they will be here when I do have time to go back and find ones I missed before. It is valuable since it wont be 'old news' since it all matters and we are working toward the same goals.

I love how you said woman's empowerment requires unconventional ways since I agree with that. I think our first step is to show woman around the world that they are not alone and help them change within themselves first. Creating a positive feeling is the first step to building confidence in a woman who has always felt sort of powerless and like her little bit wont matter that much. Together we can see that it all matters and is important.

Maria

JMKELLAM's picture

Lovely writing

Dear Nicea:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on web 2.0 with us. You painted a clear picture and you did a great job contrasting web 2.0 with less-involved internet sites. I would have loved to hear you explain what women will get from web 2.0 besides a voice. Are there taboo topics that professionals in news organizations won't speak about that private citizens can discuss? The breadth of topics that are covered by participants of web 2.0, I believe, is web 2.0s greatest contribution to society.

Thanks for sharing! It was lovely to hear your voice.

Jenna

mrudberg99's picture

Thoughtful response and writing

Dear Nicea,

I was very moved by your piece - specifically your statement: Yet people in power are very reluctant to share their privileges, as long as they have the means to control the system. This has proven to be true in my life experience and includes not only men... but women too!

I look forward to hearing more about this part of your life experience and specifically how you've approached/handled those moments and moved forward. Obviously web 2.0 provides us the opportunity to 'change and control the system' as it's now on 'our terms' - but I hope you will continue to share your travels and trials through that 'system' so that we may continue to learn from you and one another.

Thank you for your thoughtful, engaging words.

Molly

Molly Rudberg-Leshnock
Curator of Leadership
Brand Storyteller
mrudberg@mrlpro.com

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