Virtual Tools, Concrete Change.

Thais Moraes
Posted September 21, 2010 from Brazil

I am part of a generation in which technological progress has eliminated almost all limits to communication. For the first time in history, we can share what is happening with us with a friend in the opposite side of the world instantaneously. We can monitor what is happening in our neighborhood online in the same way we can send a project to a professor in an international university. These new possibilities bring enormous revolutionary potential, as well as brand new opportunities to engage politically, to pressure governments and to make change happen.

It is true, however, that the mainstream information that most of the population receive is still filtered by journalism companies, corporations or political parties - in other words, it is filtered by the ones who hold the power. We need to be aware of that, since women have been excluded from this group throughout history and although we have achieved many progresses, we stil represent a small percentage among the decision-makers.

What most excites me about Web 2.0, therefore, is the fact that it represents an alternative to that. Using Web 2.0 allows us to share opinions, spread information, criticize and debate without demanding anything besides having access to the internet. It provides us virtual tools to make concrete change happen.

This is fundamental to the global women's empowerment movement, in the first place, because it promotes a democratization of information. We can now hear many voices, many versions of the facts, a plurality of opinions, various realities as well as many approaches to these realities. This way, it becomes more difficult to disseminate an oppressive discourse, since there will always be other ways to interpret reality concurring with it and somehow balancing its legitimacy.

To ilustrate with a personal example of empowerment, my blog is part of a global network, the G(irls) 20 Ambassadors, which was also created through Web 2.0 and gave 21 young women (each one from a different country of the G-20, plus one to represent the African Union) the chance to gather in Toronto and write a communiqué to be handed to the G-20 leaders. Besides, we, the G(irls) 20, are working on a project on education of women, regarding mainly access to education, the implementation of gender-sensitive curricula and education on sexual and reproductive health. This project is only doable because, even after the summit in Canada, we can keep connected in our home countries through the internet.

Thus, Web 2.0 has been incredibly empowering for me, for I can make my voice heard through my blog, where I try to share my experiences regarding women's rights, exposing NGO and governmental projects launched in Brazil and analysing the situation of Brazilian women from different perspectives. I am aware of the huge impact a conscient and politically engaged use of Web 2.0 can have on people's lives, minds and attitudes and I am looking forward to take every chance I can to keep fighting for my beliefs and share them with the world through Web 2.0.

Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0

Comments 4

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  • Nilima Raut
    Sep 21, 2010
    Sep 21, 2010

    Dear Friend,

    you are very true that it has given the common platform through which we can create change, either it is in our own community or country or the world. This is simply awesome!!

  • Tina Garforth
    Sep 23, 2010
    Sep 23, 2010

    Hello Thais, Welcome to World Pulse and VOF. I am one of your listeners this week and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this assignment. Your voice is clear and distinct and I found this piece to be informative, intelligent and insightful. Thank you for pointing out the limits to communication that sadly do continue to remain. The women's empowerment movement still has a way to go but we are on our way there. Keep your voice heard! I look forward to reading more from you. Tina

  • William62
    Sep 23, 2010
    Sep 23, 2010

    You have a clear writing style that is able to convey a strong message - thus a great potential for leadership. Already being part of a global network is a decidedly positive step towards achieving a rewarding career. Continue to follow your dreams!

    I chuckled when I read your comments about 'mainstream information that most of the population receive is still filtered by journalism companies, corporations or political parties'.

    The final statement from the Global UN Summit in New York this week is likely to have this wording, which should please everyone on this platform: "We acknowledge the importance of gender equality and empowerment of women to achieve the MDGs. Women are agents of development. We call for action to ensure the equal access of women and girls to education, basic services, health care, economic opportunities and decision-making at all levels. We stress that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth. We recognize the need for gender mainstreaming into the formulation and implementation of development policies."

    I want to encourage you to continue finding new ways of using Web 2.0 to help achieve successful Millennium Development Goal outcomes in all 8 goals by 2015.

  • hannah
    Sep 24, 2010
    Sep 24, 2010

    Thais, I appreciate your writing and find a lot of truth in what you have to say about the "powers that be" and the idea of web 2.0 as a valuable alternative to their monopolization of women's rights. Thanks! Hannah