I grew up in the age of post office mails which we now refer to as ‘snail mail’. I recall how I would ensure I get enough stamps at the beginning of the term; of course the first letter was home to inform my parents that I had arrived safely. I looked forward to receiving letters from my friends especially during the school holiday. The letter would take about 2 weeks at the minimum and a reply the same duration of time. I remember a special friend that we were to meet but somehow bounced and this started a strained period and eventually we parted. I only knew after a month that he had fallen sick! There was no way of communicating if something went wrong. Fixing for meeting dates meant you include a venue, a geographical mark etc. and be prepared to wait for long period of time in case the other person got late. On the information side, I grew up when we had only one radio and TV station. The radio station had several stations in different languages, but essentially…just one! We had to wait for evening to know what had happened throughout the day. That now seems very ancient! I am currently away from home, and I get excited to know that I can find out what is happening at home through online communication. That is one thing that excites me about Web 2.0, being in touch with a global village. Knowing that I can keep updated regardless of where I am has been one of the greatest innovations of this century.

Often times, women’s voices are not heard due to patriarchal hindrances. Issues raised by women could be seen as trivial and not worth of national attention. At the home front, some women cannot comfortably air their views as they are seen to be less important. In my community, the name for a woman is ‘mutumia’ and we are informed over and over that this implies ‘gutumia’ which means ‘keeping quiet’. A ‘good woman’ therefore is one who knows how to ‘shut up’. In most communities in the world, the aspect of women being seen and not heard has been common. The media has been an important tool in bringing about change but media in most cases is controlled and owned by the male. The new media therefore offers an opportunity for women to be heard where a woman is the author, editor, and final authority over her content. This ensures that issues that women consider important are highlighted. The tools are also critical for movement building where women from all walks of life come together for a common cause. I find the tools empowering because I have been able to engage on issues that address women’s concerns and get others to join. I learn about what is happening in other areas and also get networks of likeminded women who I can use as resources in addressing pertinent issues.

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

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As you suggest, the web is spinning the world on its head by saying to women that they do not need to "keep quiet". You can now shout from the rooftop about the issues and challenges you face in Nigeria, and you know that people are listening. Not only are they listening but they want to learn more. Women can gather over the internet to support each other, to keep each other informed, and to bring about change through action.

I am excited that we have the opportunity to hear from women all over the globe who refuse to be be silent.

Hello Sophie, That world of having to wait for news to arrive really does seem so very alien already, doesn't it? Things have changed fast, and in respect of women's rights, security and equality, that's a very promising fact. Let's hope that with these new tools we are able to just as quickly make unhealthy, unjust cultural norms and expectations such a women's silence a thing of the past. It's so very encouraging to hear that you are already experiencing personal successes when it comes to spreading to word about things that matter and getting others to join in. All power to you! Sally

Yes yes, I have definately seen the power of the web 2.0 in making issues of women more visible.We have had a campaign on VAW through stripping in public and feel empowered since I started this online since I was away from home yet it got some good attention

Sophie Ngugi

I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the sky

www.sophiengugi.blogspot.com/ www.sophiengugi.com

It's brilliant that you could front a successful campaign despite being away from your usual workspace and colleagues. Well done! Did it take much extra planning?

Hello Sophie,

I think you did a great job of discussing Web 2.0 and what it can mean for the women's empowerment movement. You make an especially good point when you say, "new media therefore offers an opportunity for women to be heard where a woman is the author, editor, and final authority over her content. This ensures that issues that women consider important are highlighted." Again and again here on PulseWire, women who work in traditional media will write about how women's issues are not considered newsworthy by their bosses. I remember this from Stella Paul's VOF posts last year as well as from one post I just read from calupo. It's a big problem and one that we can use Web 2.0 to challenge.

Thank you for writing. I look forward to reading more from you soon!

Best wishes,

Emily

Thank you very much, Sophie, for this grounded, extremely well written and mature perspective. I can tell that you are not building up a flurry of excitement to sound any way to others -- you are sharing the truth carefully, truthfully, and purposefully.

Excellent.

Wow.

Great Job. Congratulations, Sophie,

Anna

Speaking my Peace