To all my World Pulse sisters and brothers -
On this 101st International Women's Day, I want to share how we are imagining the future of World Pulse - and invite you to contribute your perspective.
Since I founded World Pulse in 2003, we’ve had many evolutionary moments. In just a few years we’ve grown from a static print magazine to a worldwide online action media network powered by women from 190 countries. The year 2012 promises another evolutionary leap! I am excited to share with you a glimpse into the future of World Pulse and the outcomes of our new strategic path.
At the founding of World Pulse I was an idealistic 28-year-old young woman. I had a big, burning dream to build a media network that could bring women a global voice and link them worldwide into a powerful force. In the early 2000s realizing that vision through a print magazine was as far as I could see. I clearly remember pulling an all-nighter with a volunteer team to get the first issue to press and touching the inaugural markups with disbelief, each page filled with untold stories from the mouths of women in the Congo, the US, and Colombia. Then, years later, I remember crying with amazement following the beta-launch of our interactive site. I was watching the first bubbling of voices and stories appear from women logging on from rural Kenya and Bangladesh.
Today, what began as a print magazine and became an intimate social network has transformed into a loud, pulsing interactive action media network where women are speaking freely—in many cases breaking through the weight of repressive societies, supporting each other, growing as leaders, and changing each other’s lives every day. I marvel that, in many ways, World Pulse has grown BEYOND my original vision. We have truly tapped into a vocal uprising of women sounding out from all corners of the world.
Beatrice Achieng, a young rural leader from Uganda, says it so eloquently: “If I did not find World Pulse, I would still be boiling, my voice was always indoors, burning, longing for a way out. I am grateful I found not only a channel but listeners too. I will speak for change until my very last breath.”
Ultimately, we have pioneered a methodology that is harnessing the power of online technology to accelerate women’s empowerment globally. In 2011 alone women leaders from World Pulse’s online community won prestigious journalism and leadership awards, ran for Parliament, and advised White House officials and the US State Department. Major media outlets such as CNN, BBC, and the Huffington Post picked up stories from our website on issues as diverse as breast ironing, child marriage, and corruption. They spoke out at major international forums like TED and made recommendations to technology leaders in Silicon Valley. World Pulse delivered on-the-ground testimonies on critical issues such as violence against women and digital access to the US government and the United Nations. We have introduced nearly 2,000 women from unheard regions to the basics of new media and citizen journalism. Our community surveys show us that women are transforming their lives: They’re winning land rights, starting social change organizations, and dramatically increasing their self-esteem—all by connecting and speaking out on our online platform.
Despite multiple barriers, YOU - the women of our network are continually showing us the way forward. They urge us to consider realities on the ground: barriers to accessing the Internet, political barriers to freedom of expression, and internal barriers to self-expression. Most importantly, they are motivating us to think bigger and bolder. They are pushing us to think strategically and to find ways to reach more grassroots women so that they too can be equipped to be leaders and transmitters of the pulse of vocal empowerment in their own communities.
These bold voices are calling out to us from villages and cities across the planet in a common refrain, including from the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s most dangerous regions for women, where community leader CongoLeezza shouts, “I’m not interested in making a little noise—I’m looking to CHANGE THE PARADIGM!!!”
Heeding her words, beginning in 2012, World Pulse will focus on two key areas in order to foster a vocal uprising of women’s voices that the world can no longer ignore:Increase the reach and impact of our content.
The voices have arrived on our platform and the volume of content is increasing. We have identified that our biggest priority is to increase the visibility of the stories we see online every day. Beginning in 2012 we will no longer publish our print magazine in its current form. Instead, by focusing our editorial attentions on channeling community-driven content to online audiences and international forums, we will be able to increase the reach and impact of content far more efficiently than our print magazine ever could. In addition to channeling more content, this year we will also expand our nationwide World Pulse LIVE speaking tour, which brings incredible grassroots voices to key forums and audiences across the US.Strengthen the leadership and impact of our online community.
We will focus our resources on strengthening the leadership of our community of grassroots women by expanding our online-community building efforts, technology platform, and new media and citizen journalism training to fuel a networked global movement of outspoken, empowered women leaders. As part of those efforts, we will roll out digital action campaigns to unite our network and drive action around key issues vital to our community. Hand in hand with our partners we will deliver these collective grassroots voices and solutions to policy making tables and institutions of power to influence change.
JOIN THE VOCAL UPRISING
In this time of great evolution, your support to World Pulse is vital. We invite you to be part of the growing World Pulse community.Sign up to receive World Pulse content, updates, and opportunities to interact directly with our diverse community of women leaders across the globe. Join our online community and you will find that by speaking your truth or making just a few comments on a woman’s journal you can make a big difference in other’s lives—and yours! Stay in the loop by joining us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also log on here to access digital versions of all of our past print editions or contact our offices to order a set of back issues. Support women’s rising voices by making a generous donation to World Pulse today.
As always, we thank you for being the PULSE of World Pulse and I invite you to share your comments, advice and perspective!
In partnership and love, Jensine