I was born in an era where the most common ways of sharing information were through radio and television. I was born in an era where communicating across distances was made possible by letters and posts; the fax was practically stagnant in my corner of the world. I was born in era of limited possibilities, when the world was massive; spreading out into what I considered ‘the unknown’. But today, the world has evolved from a time when Columbus had to take a long voyage to discover the new world to a time when Columbus perhaps could have conquered the world via information and communication technologies. Today web 2.0 signifies unlimited possibilities. It is a tool that has further shrunk the world, accepting no constraints of time and space and cutting across cultures and languages. ‘The unknown’ has become ‘known’ as I dialogue with people from diverse backgrounds and orientations. Web 2.0 has eliminated bottlenecks and bypassed restrictions of having to pass your thoughts through an editor who may not approve of your views or a publisher who may think your article too provocative. Web 2.0 stretches out in front of me, its potentials infinite.
Closer to home for instance, being an African woman means bearing the brunt of discrimination and acts of inequality in many spheres of life. Web 2.0 would be a platform for my voice to be heard on this and many other issues. It would provide the opportunity to amplify to the world the vices of living in a patriarchal continent. Women in Africa are discredited for leadership positions, are passed over for jobs, men are sent to school while women are married off in their teens, wives are arbitrarily thrown out of their homes, widows are made to drink the water used in bathing their husbands’ corpses, and the list of abuses goes on and on. And what of the MDG on reducing maternal mortality? A woman in Africa has 1 in 16 chances of dying in pregnancy or childbirth and 1 of every 9 global maternal deaths occur in Nigeria. Web 2.0 would be a dais for educating the continent on the African Union’s protocol on the rights of women. Knowledge is power! If more people knew about the charter and understood the intricacies of the protocol on women’s rights as declared by the continent’s governing body, if more people could chant for the implementation of this protocol in all countries, then we would well be on our way to creating a deserving environment for women.
I only recently realized half the impact that web 2.0 holds in store, and I am besieged with thoughts of the possibilities, endless possibilities that this powerful tool represents. I realize that we have been bestowed with the previously elusive gift of being able to influence change, and I have every intention of utilizing it by bringing to the knowledge of the world the plight of women everywhere and strengthening them with knowledge of their civil liberties.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.