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Digital Media: The Megaphone for Change

Photo courtesty of Afghan Women's Writing Project

Digital media has been an extraordinary platform for the worldwide empowerment of women. From a broad perspective, it is about women gaining confidence and sharing their stories in society, speaking about their lives, and the needs & issues they face. But from a critical perspective, it is a powerful tool that encourages social reform and creates solidarity amongst global communities. The Internet has enabled transparent interaction across the span of the world, and women in even the most fragile nations are able to critically engage with the mass media and politics from the perspectives of their own lives.

The access to knowledge and ability to share and connect has helped reach tremendous milestones for women. Social and cultural restrictions that previously may have resulted in silence through suffering have been challenged, and this in turn has encouraged women to initiate key decisions that impact their very lives. For example, a global campaign to end female genital mutilation has just scratched the surface, and there are already legislative changes taking place to ensure safety for women and girls. This extends to not only in regions where this practice is supported, but also in the United States where many females are susceptible to having this abhorrent practice performed. A topic that was considered too taboo or shameful has finally been given the much needed attention it deserved: through women and digital media.

Let’s not minimize how digital media also offers the means of self-reflection and self-advocacy by creating peer-to-peer knowledge networks through heightened connectivity. Grassroots women’s organizations are championing the need for literacy, social reform, and humanitarian advocacy. Women have been able to develop their ideas through creativity, celebrate their successes, and share their joys and sorrows. Through online platforms,the world has been able to empathize with struggles and initiate solidarity. Women have had the opportunity to be engaged with leadership and politics, and networks have been enhanced to further promote women to participate equally in society.

The strength of digital media truly relies on its accessibility and the opportunities it has provided for women spanning the globe. It is crucial to continue this mode of communication as a portal for a universal platform of social advancement. When we scrutinize the barriers women face, ranging from lack of provision of resources due to poverty, to physical safety, government censorship, and social norms that discourage them from holding equal roles in society, it seems like an uphill battle to initiate change where its needed most. However, this is truly the remarkable beginning of transformation, as the chances to be utilized, to be heard, and and to contribute valuably are steadily increasing.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Bheki's picture

Very succinct, powerful statement

Your posting is such a clear and comprehensive summary of why the internet is critical for the empowerment of women worldwide. I think that people in the U.S. and other developed countries take access to the internet for granted, and spend a huge amount of time using it for only social connections and posting "selfies" of our latest meal or outing. We lose sight of the tremendous power it offers to communicate and connect for women who are in "the most fragile nations". You are correct when you say that the strength of digital media truly relies on its accessibility. So often, this is the most significant barrier for women.

Your article is a wonderful reminder that we have an incredible tool available to us. Let us each do our part to use it to the benefit of all women and to do what we can to expand the web worldwide.

Thank you.

Bheki

gracest's picture

Thank you!

Dear zebkhan3,

Thank you for such a powerful, encouraging statement. Your words have strength and impact and, judging by your picture, you must use them well as a public speaker!

Your example of genital mutilation caught my eye, as it is such a good example of a practice that, while we all agree in the western world is barbaric, is not viewed the same way. Some women themselves insist upon this procedure for their own daughters, thinking that, if painful, it is what is expected and correct within their culture.
This is where the Internet has such powerful potential, as you mentioned. For the first time, women can speak directly to other women about issues such of these and learn they they are not necessarily the norm. They don't have to depend on males or some sort of "public leader" to receive instructions and information about what is "right" "wrong" or "shameful".
It is such a fascinating and hopeful time to be using the Internet, and I thank you for logging on to tap into its potential and spread such inspiring words!

Your sister,
Grace

travelpoet's picture

Yes!

Thank you for your clarity and powerful commitment to using digital media for the worldwide empowerment of women!

I liked reading your comments about how the internet may prove helpful in ending FGM. I'd love more information on specifics of how digital media can help with that, and other, critical issues with which you're familiar.

It's a helpful reminder that the internet can enable grassroots connections, foster creativity, and build bridges between people clear across the world. While there are many real challenges still remaining in terms of access, censorship, and gender equality, it truly is as you've said, "a tool for universal advancement."

May people everywhere work together to use this amazing power for GOOD!

Best wishes,
Kristie

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