Women Weaving Web at the Lagos Social Media Week
I waved my hand as I saw Busayo Obisakin seated amongst the audience while waiting for other panelists at the Social Media Week event going on at the Sheraton Hotel in Lekki Lagos. Busayo saw my hand, waved and smiled back, we have never met in person except online and we have been great sisters since 2009. Meeting her was like meeting a sister we live together, she was not a stranger, hugging her was not strange at all, surprisingly, we continued our discussion where we stopped the previous meet up through e mal conversation.
We represented World pulse; our online community, at the event. It bought back the reminiscence of old memories, the journey on this online platform in the last five years. It is inspiring, meeting a close sister for the first time in life and walking together, clapping, hugging smiling and chatting with no hold barred. No fear, no strange or ill feeling, just emitting love, World pulse sister love.
As we were ushered into the high table with other panelists who are fellow women internet gurus, we were all smiled because we were armed with good stories about our presence and progress in World pulse. The programme anchor began with the question of internet safety and my take is simple; "the web is a reflection of the world" who and what we are online is who and what we are offline; no matter how successfully pretentious we can become when others are watching.
Women are unsafe in the real world, which is why they are unsafe in the virtual world, because the people we meet online are the same people that other women interact in the real day to day affair. The web shows the world, the world. That is why if we substitute the world with cyber in the following phrases, it will give us the same meaning, no arguments whatsoever; cyber bulling and street bullying, school bullying, cyber crime and world crime, street crimes, cyber insecurity and world insecurity, cyber killing and street killings, the way some women are disrespected and bullied online, is also the same way that some women disrespected and bullied offline. Some women are being violated online so also are women violated offline; on the streets of Kabul, Delhi, Lahore, Lagos etc.
Women love safe surfing, internet has reduced the world to a global community. Women want peace at home and peace online because online is a home to most bloggers, and surfers, some women transact business online while others use the internet to showcase their talents and ideas. Who does not want peace of mind, respect and safety where she is earning her livelihood? The web is the world of some women. We all love a world without war. War of words is as dangerous as the war of bomb and bullets, that is why cyber death and war death make no difference, death is death. It must be avoided and women must be protected.
The web will become safe for women when the world is safe for women. When will the world be safe for women?
So long as we do not have a readymade answer for the aforementioned question, we will continue to seek avenue to make the web a safer place for women through policies and empowerment programmes for women internet users amongst several suggestions for women’s safety online. The bottom line is that we must not stop talking, agitating, educating and raising the safety issue for the relevant stakeholders to act on behalf of women.
My personal journey in, on and through WorldPulse earned me a thunderous clap, the password that was supposed to be a secret code was not applicable to me 6 years ago. Whenever I enter a public cyber café, I will have to write my password for the café official to help me to check my e-mail; I do not know how to use a computer or an internet device 6 years ago. I was a market woman trading in fairly used products. As far as I was concerned, facebook was a nonsensical site for jobless people. why will I be on facebook when I sell used spoons, pots and pans at Westminster, Apapa road, Lagos?
When I joined World Pulse, I could only type with a finger; my index finger. I could type two or three pages with this finger, its always as if I was having a fight with the keyboard, punching on it as if my hens were punching their daily maize meal.
Nowadays, my story has changed.
World Pulse brought out the genius in me, this is what I wish for every “WOMAN WITHOUT WEB” especially those women who are willing to make a drastic change from the root. My password is so protected that it is written in Owo dialect, my tribal dialect, it is even the name of the king that ruled in in Owo in 1701.
My typing speed can only be compared to that of a confidential secretary, I do not have to look at any keyboard before I could type anything on my laptop, a cyber scammer cannot compete with me anymore, I have a faster speed.
Lastly, the event hall was filled with deafening ovation when I introduced my 77 years old aunt who just finished her 6 months Diploma in Computer training in last month in Bedford, UK. In addition, I made my clarion call to men who are present amongst the audience and online listeners that “ the world should wake up and accept the fact that this world is our world, therefore, nobody is leaving this world for another person, it is not any man’s world, the world is for all of us; online or offline, we should get used to the presence of one another and to the presence of each other, either online and offline. The world we live in today, is no longer a man’s world, its everyone’s world and the online community is everyone’s web; we must work together to create the world and web we want for peaceful coexistence.