By Philip Amiola
The power of women’s voices is an important factor in the advancement of every nation, even though it is often underestimated. Women’s voices have contributed to shaping culture and engendering conversations that have transformed entire civilizations.
From the women’s suffrage movement of the 19th century to the more recent #MeToo movement which was significantly powered by social media, it is evident that women’s voices can and do make a lasting impact on society. In the 21st century that we now live in, the power of technology has made it even easier for women to amplify their voices with powerful tools and resources for digital activism.
Events and occasions like Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day often serve as some sort of rallying cry to discuss women’s struggles and their efforts to effect social change. However, few people truly appreciate the various ways in which the immense power of women’s voices is being deployed to make real, lasting impact in our society today.
Firstly, women’s voices have helped to bring critical issues to public awareness. By speaking out and making their stories heard, women are drawing attention to important causes and raising awareness of gender-based violence, women’s representation in government, equal pay, and other relevant issues. They are challenging gender stereotypes while advancing the call for more diverse and inclusive environments where men and women can thrive alike.
Secondly, women’s voices are also playing an important role in advocating for legislative change. By voicing their opinions on pertinent issues, women are bringing about real change in policy and law. This is being done in a variety of ways, which include engaging with government officials, mobilising support through mass media and social media campaigns, starting petitions, organising protests, and creating resource materials to educate relevant stakeholders.
For example, in her book, Reaching Millions With Impact, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli cites an interview with Nike Esiet, co-founder of Action Health Incorporated, who explained how her organisation’s intervention has contributed to “moving Nigeria from a point of denial and apathy about the poor status of young people’s sexual health indices to a context where universal access to sexuality education for young people is now on the national education policy agenda.”
Also, women’s voices are making a big difference in advocating for equality and social justice. Women are using their collective strength and the power of their voices to strengthen and sustain movements for positive change. Women’s voices have the power to inspire and empower others. By speaking out and addressing issues, especially those that affect women and girls, women are helping to create a world where everyone is treated with fairness and equity.
Nevertheless, there are still a lot of women who feel that their voices are not heard. As a woman in a male-dominated environment, you may think that you don’t have the necessary support and tools to make a significant difference and create the kind of change that you have envisioned. However, this does not have to be a limiting factor. By learning how to use technology as a tool for social change, you can amplify your voice and make a meaningful impact.
For example, you can blog about issues that interest you and use social media platforms to connect with like-minded individuals for the purpose of sharing ideas, resources, and strategies. This can spark productive conversations and create the kind of engagement that will inspire people to take action on the identified issues.
You can also use technology to address particular needs and fill known gaps in your community. This is not necessarily about developing new solutions. It could be as easy as taking an innovation that has already been tried and tested and working with others to make it readily accessible to the people who could benefit from it. A good example is the Oky app, which was developed by UNICEF to educate girls about menstruation and help them track their periods.
Whether you are using mobile apps, blogging platforms, social media, or other technology solutions, make sure that you choose the right tools for your cause. Be careful to avoid importing ideas that were developed for other environments without adapting them to your unique context. You should also think about how you can use relevant data and analytics to help you make informed decisions and measure the impact of your work.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that technology is only one element in the toolkit for creating social change. You must also make deliberate efforts to build relationships and engage with the people who are affected by the issues you want to address. One way to do this is by connecting with grassroots organisations and partners. Another helpful idea is to host events that create platforms for reaching out to those in need.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and other events in this Women’s History Month, remember that you are more empowered than ever before to make your voice heard. By adopting the right approach and uniting with other women who are committed to embracing equity, you can make a difference in your spheres of influence and create the kind of change you want to see.
Philip Amiola is a teacher, writer, and campaigner of empowerment.