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Women Empowerment through Technology and Social Media

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by

Mira Daher

on 2 January 2014

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Transcript of Women Empowerment through Technology and Social Media


INTRODUCTION
LITERATURE REVIEW5
ON SITE REVIEW
THE RISE OF WOMEN AND DIGITAL ACTIVISM IN THE ARAB WORLD
WOMEN ADVANCEMENT THROUGH THE BLOGOSPHERE
PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN STATUS
WOMEN AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA REALITY IN LEBANON
THE PROJECT
POTENTIAL PARTNERS
THE PROJECT ACTIVITY
SURVEY CONDUCTED
FINAL WORD
REFERENCES
Table of Contents
“The use of Facebook and Twitter among Arab females has witnessed a slight rise from 32 percent at the end of 2010 to 34 percent in the first quarter of 2012 even though women make up almost half of the Arab population” (Al Arabiya News,2012). The cultural norms and restrictions that are still imposed on women hinder their participation in the political and social change more than they hinder men (Al Arabiya News,2012
Social media could enhance women’s participation in economic and political life, and allows them to increase their self expression and promote social change, and this is a strong belief that has risen up in the society (Tomlin, 2012).
However, women face barriers in real life that hinders women from participating in social media and seeing the impact it has on their lives. One of the barriers is ICT literacy, which is the ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and/or networks to define access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information ethically and legally in order to function in a knowledge society.This lack of education can be overcome by training.

Other kinds of constraints which are highly significant are the social constraints. Those include family and society barriers and stereotypes placed on women especially in the places where female users operate (Tomlin, 2012).
Speaking about the Lebanese society, social media is a powerful tool for women to be engaged in online activism, where they can advocate for the right of any female Lebanese women to pass her nationality to her non-Lebanese husband and children which is not the reality now.

Women activists will be able to pressure the government more to pass a law that protects women against domestic violence, and to delete the article 522 from the Lebanese penal code. If a criminal raped a woman, article 522 exonerates him of his crime if he marries the victim. And in all Lebanese confessional laws, women can get married under 18 (ages vary by sect). Training those activists will expand the population of women who know how to profoundly use social media tools.
Literatire Review
International organizations which are concerned/work on the advancement of the technological status of women in the world.
1- Take back the Tech

A collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technologies (ICT) to end violence against women (VAW). Take Back the Tech campaigns have been organized and initiated by individuals, groups of people and organizations in many different parts of the world.
2- Cisco Academy for Women
Cisco's Networking Academy Gender Initiative provides greater access to IT training for women globally. Cisco is partnering with several United Nations programs, as well as nongovernmental organizations, to achieve at least 30 percent female enrollment in more than 200 Cisco Networking Academy sites in the least-developed countries of the world.
2- Girl Geek Camp
Large segments of the population have been empowered by the sweeping societal and political transformations in the Arab region, where women became the main drivers for regional change and more engaged in civic and political actions and took over a leading role in the historic changes sweeping over the region.
Social Media: A tool for Women Empowerment
On Site Review:
1- Women in Technology (WIT) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the U.S. Department of State, managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
WIT partners with organizations in Lebanon, supports and complements their women’s empowerment initiatives.
Girls aged between 15 and 18 years old having some basic experience in using computers and the Internet and interested in gaining more technology skills learned how to:

Create a blog, write and express yourself, and do citizen journalism, use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to spread useful information, film a video
However, the question was about how social media contributed to the rise of Women and digital activism in the Arab world..

Citizen journalists have become among the only few credible voices of keeping the world abreast of developments and coordinating efforts on the ground, especially with the unfolding of the Arab revolutions. During the revolutions, women acted as active citizen journalists. They addressed the significant challenges that exist for freedom of speech and censorship.
The potential influence and power that the internet activists in the Arab world are aware of nowadays makes them look at how they can become fully engaged in transitional democracy, transparency and governance strategies, especially that digital activism has played a crucial role in the recent uprising in the Arab world (Dubai School of Government Report, 2011).
Many female bloggers in the Arab world face a unique challenge: to speak out about women’s issues often means going against the grain of family and society, but there are well-known female bloggers discussing issues unique to women (York, 2009).


Being part of the blogosphere will create a psychological support for women who are hesitant about starting their own blog. This is a key factor in advancing women’s courage to take their own personal initiatives. Against oppression and injustice in their communities, Arab women can freely speak out with no censorship of their voices, through their blogs (Ayish, 2011).
Women advancement through the Blogosphere
Arab women demonstrate intellectual capacities for they engage with their readers in the most impressive of terms, through their blogs. The strong sense of independence and confidence, especially when women talk about the issues of gender equality, drives women blogging (Ayish, 2011).
What is the project about and how is it different than the previous similar initiatives?

The project will select 30 socially active young women, with a range of 5-6 participants per governorate, who will be participating in the project, and teach them how to use social media tools in depth.

The main difference between previous two initiatives (mentioned in the onsite review) and the proposed project is the target group. The project proposed targets young women who are enrolled in universities (all across Lebanon, whether a public or a private university), and have demonstrated engagement in the civil society (NGOs, charity organizations..).
The Project!
To highlight the idea that those young women are mobilizing agents in their communities. With the facilities that they have, like easy access to the internet (at their universities, workplace, home, cafes), and their knowledge of social media tools (even if it is not very advanced), and the networks they are part of in their local communities and many other factors that come along are reasons of why these young women are societal mobilizing agents.
Why this target group?
Lebanese American University: Why LAU?

1- A Prestigious History of Women Empowerment

2- Institute of Women Studies in the Arab World

3- “Who Is She in Lebanon?” Initiative
Potential partners:

The project will be implemented over 7 days. The 30 selected participants (according to the criteria of their engagement in their universities and civil society), will be staying at LAU for all the days of the project.
Project Activity:
Sessions would be conducted by professor from LAU with expertise in political science, cultural studies, gender issues, technology and computer science.., speakers from the Institute of Women Studies at LAU, and female speakers who played/are playing a prominent role through social media in Lebanon. Visiting speakers from around the Arab world would be invited to share their experience with the participants (The panel of women speakers that was invited on the international women’s day at LAU in 2012).
Survey Conducted
A survey of 10 questions was released online asking 100 online activists about the role of social media in the empowerment of women.
The project will be creating a whole new cohort of young women leaders who are educated and active in the civil society, and thus will open the floor of the creation of a new societal generation that recognizes the potentials of young women leaders and fosters their capabilities. Being a young leader part of a scholarship program gave me the privilege of earning education from a prestigious university, and my duty is to give back to my community and empower those young women who I am sure that, when they are given the chance, they will be become the change agents in the future, no doubts.


A final thank you for the generous advice and continuous guidance of Dr.Marwan Rowayheb, and the support of the MEPI team leaded by Dr.Touma.
The project will be creating a whole new cohort of young women leaders who are educated and active in the civil society, and thus will open the floor of the creation of a new societal generation that recognizes the potentials of young women leaders and fosters their capabilities. Being a young leader part of a scholarship program gave me the privilege of earning education from a prestigious university, and my duty is to give back to my community and empower those young women who I am sure that, when they are given the chance, they will be become the change agents in the future, no doubts.


A final thank you for the generous advice and continuous guidance of Dr.Marwan Rowayheb, and the support of the MEPI team lead by Dr.Touma.
Final Word
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