What excites me most about Web 2.0 is the amount of information people with access to internet put about their views, opinions, work even their personal lives on the inter-webs particularly young people via social networking websites. This new era of creating and sharing of user-generated content both shows a risky behaviour and at the same time highly significant one. Web 2.0 has given voices to women who had not been reached before, like Iran and disputed territories like Kashmir. In Pakistan where women’s voices are suppressed on every level the information that gets through Web 2.0 by women opens huge horizons of learning, sharing and networking. I would focus more on the risk aspect due to something I have faced recently while working on bringing forward a case of a female school principal Ms. Victoria Anita who belonged to a religious minority in a small town of Layyah. After collecting the facts and opinions, I managed to put my first blog entry at www.iffatgill.com but to my surprise, within a few hours, my report and a photograph was copy pasted by someone on their website without my permission and they did not even acknowledge the source. This got me a bit worried at first but also, at the same time, the message is reaching more people now due to the little work I had done. The empowerment aspect is still strong in the above mentioned incident as the local media was not bringing out the other side of the story at first and the concerned people did not know how to get their message across. After my work was online, the family and friends of the principal could get an overview of what was actually going on and knew how to share it with their contacts. This gave her a feeling of empowerment and she would also now want to learn more about these tools.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.

Comment on this Post


Such a wonderful post Rose. Plagiarism is a menace, I have witnessed leading newspapers, magazines and TV channels here copying stuff from the web and publishing it without the owner's consent. Worst is when the pictures are copied and misused sometimes after being morphed.

I have read/studied about plagiarism but this is the first time I realized how annoying it could be.It is aslo evident from my article above as I felt less inclined to work on it with the same zeal which is not like me. When I work on something, I do try to do justice to it. There is alot of awareness raising that needs to be done in this regard. There are a number of people who are doing good work in a country like Pakistan, and they should not be discouraged in this way. Rather, they should be given recognition for the efforts they make. I am hopeful that we will manage to make a difference one day! Best wishes.

Iffat Gill

I am visiting a small town where I had limited connectivity and i went to a net cafe for working on most of the stuff I was doing which was a huge challenge to me. I am glad I made it in time for the deadline of this work we had to do. Hope to read more of your work too. I am so glad to meet a lot of fellow writers from a place like Nepal. Somehow, this place always intrigued me, hope to visit it some day! Best wishes. Rose

Iffat Gill

Rose, Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Terri and I am one of the Voices of the Future Listeners. I am here to help you on your journey - be your cheerleader and friend. If you have any questions feel free to ask me anything. My goal is for you to strengthen your voice so that your message will spread, even if it is plagiarised (an unfortunate issue in our digital age). Firstly, I applaud your efforts to spread women's voices in Pakistan, and know that Web 2.0 will become a powerful tool for your voice to be heard. Your description of how Web 2.0 opening horizons of learning, sharing and networking are spot on. However, I found myself longing for more information on the case your referred to in Layyah. I understand that you included the link in your piece, nonetheless, your essay would have been all the more powerful with a brief overview of the event. A reader should never have to leave the essay they are reading to find out more information - because you want them to pay attention to what you have to say. If they click a link, they may never come back. Think of the link as being akin to icing on a cake. I could tell that you understood that a story always pulls the reader in and is a powerful weapon in a writer's arsenal, and Victoria Anita's case was a great way to show how the web is empowering to you and the women's movement et alia. I look forward to hearing more about strong women in Pakistan I am truly moved that your blog post aided in her issue and that she wants to learn more about the tools, and of course am inspired by your courage and voice despite the risks. I look forward to future essays. All my best, Terri

Dear Terri,

Thank you so much for the analysis and feedback and honestly I was somewhat aware about the shortcomings of my article too but the reason i was discouraged to write more was purely due to the incidence that I saw the photo I had taken (which was risky task) at another website without my knowledge/permission. I had spent days and hours of work and research on this last piece. I would have never asked for anything more than a mention and it was wrong of me to waste so much energy than to work on my next piece. I shall keep that in mind next time. Thanks once agian for pointing it out for me and for a wonder feedback. Best Rose.

Iffat Gill

Hi Rose, Wonderful observation--Web 2.0 has indeed challenged traditional journalistic practices. Plagiarism is now easily accomplished and has become a very real problem for all writers. I would be interested to learn some ideas you may have on how to contribute to solving this challenge. More specifically, how can we use social media to combat plagiarism (like forming groups on PulseWire and other forums where all members create and agree to follow a set of journalistic principles)? For every challenge Web 2.0 presents, dozens of solutions are out there--we just need to find them and engage with others to make the best solutions work! World Pulse is a very solutions-oriented media outlet, using the creativity and fortitude of women to solve the world's most tenacious problems. It is up to us! Best, Lydia

Hi Lydia,

Thank you for bringing my attention to the solutions part, which I very conveniently overlooked in my piece. I did have the sign of copyright on my website.Although more and more researchers are now putting their work online while protecting their work through creative commons (Creative Commons licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”)

Some solutions and measures I took: After my work was copied, I could either ask them to remove the content from their website or give them official permission to use my work.I decided to ask them to cite the source thus granting them permission to use my work because I was after all working for a cause and wanted the world to know about the story of a strong and influential woman in a small town who was targeted due to her belief by her students. The photographs and videos, I decided to put watermarks on them before I make them public through the blog. To me, they do not remain very aesthetic after the ugly watermarks but I guess it is required if you care about the recognition of the hard work you have done.

Tools: As you mentioned, for every challenge there are dozens of solutions. For people who want to tackle plagiarism, or want to see if the work they have received from a contributor is original or not there are also tools available to check the authenticity of the work like Turinitin, iThenticate and WriteCheck etc. Plagiarism.com is a free online plagiarism detection system and there are many others.

About using social media to combat plagiarism, I think it should be incorporated in the principles or rules that the new writers like me are required to follow, so this should be part of every group's ethics. If a separate group is created then, it would be up to them (users) to chose to join it, whereas for maximum outreach, it should be made a requirement, a principle to follow. If there isn't a set of rules already formulated for the online community, may be we could invite people from all the groups to come and join a forum where they work collectively on such guidelines and make it available to everyone who decides to join this vibrant community.

These were a few things that I could think for now, but there are many, I can keep writing and I do not want it to get boring! :) Hope to keep sharing and learning! Best, Rose.

Further reading: -http://www.plagiarism.org/ -http://www.plagiarismdetect.com/ -http://creativecommons.org/about/what-is-cc

Iffat Gill

Having worked in Pakistan for a little more than 2 years in the NWFP, I took some time after reading your story to reflect upon the relationship of women in society, and how Web 2.0 might be used to peacefully affect changes in a country.

I also wanted to mention how the volume of comments have expanded your initial post.

Keep up the good works.

Glad to hear that you worked in my country and that too in NWFP, where I still wish I could go work for a short while, as I have always lived in Punjab. Reading your comment about working on peace initiatives through Web 2.0 is an excellent idea but I feel that access to internet is a big issue as well. One of the challenges I faced while working on some online campaign is, first of all, it was difficult to find women who were tech savvy and the little percentage who are, are not necessarily interested in advocacy campaigns. I found it challenging to build an online community or even conduct a research through an online survey. But the situation will change slowly, I am hopeful.

On a minor note, yes, the volume of comments have expanded the post and helped me see what issues are important to different people. Thanks for taking time to read the post and the comments. Your comment came as surprise, as this one is something I posted a while ago.

Hope to keep in touch and who knows, may be we can come up with something together!

Best, Rose.

Iffat Gill