In the early 1990’s approximately 5% of industrialized countries’ households were accessing the Internet. By the end of the decade 37%, and 3 years ago 67%* . These are staggering statistics that exemplify the importance the Internet plays in our daily lives. It is the Information Revolution – access to information, freedom of speech, and cross-cultural exchange (to name a few) has reached new levels. The most exhilarating thing about the internet and web 2.0 is the potential for capacity building and social change. As more women from all continents, countries and communities have increased access to the Internet it will foster solidarity and unity to the global women’s empowerment movement. Web 2.0 is empowering on a personal level because it allows creativity and free thought (culture-jamming and blogging) – though engaging us as active participants in the global community.
Increased access to web 2.0 regardless of race or gender will increase women’s ability to receive the education and awareness they deserve. For so many years women have had the door to education shut again and again due to socio-economic factors, war, gender – we all know the list. With web 2.0 everything changes, while some women will still lack access - the masses are moving towards connection. Women are reading, writing, and sharing their experiences throughout the globe. This enables women to identify with each other, ask for advice and really provide support in all facets of life. I was recently reading “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins and “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein – both authors clearly demonstrate how Euro-centric male dominated institutions like the IMF and World Bank have been incredibly detrimental to the health and welfare of women, and thus children, around the world. The poor, and particularly the women, had no ability to raise their concerns against the power that was oppressing them in the books– and I couldn’t help but think how empowering a world with web 2.0 would have been for these women. With web 2.0 social, international, networks will help women raise their voices against the powerful – to protect their livelihoods, families and community.
Web 2.0 is a means to eliminate the prejustice women face in the power struggle, it empowers and equips women to be agents of change. My ability to use the internet, access information and become a citizen journalist has lead me to working overseas in the education and advocacy field with women and children. I am building networks and understand the importance of effective cross-cultural communication. It is inspiring to see my students from South East Asia participating in the WorldPulse competition, to have their own blogs, and to be interacting with women from around the world. What we will all learn from this community goes well beyond anything that can be taught in a classroom or out of a book. It is bringing us the freedom of choice, to create our futures. It is the stuff of life – it is this capacity of women that electrifies me.
*Red Apple Education Ltd. Skuuirk Interactive Schooling (2009) available at