The ideas for this blog entry have been swirling in my head all day. This morning, I gathered with hundreds of women’s rights activists from across Latin America in a large hall in the center of Mexico City to discuss a vital question: how are women using new technologies to change their world?
There are countless answers to that question, and no one blog entry could do them justice. Even in just one day’s meeting, we talked about participatory methods for creating documentary films, about the potential for blogs to create space for women’s stories, about the real barriers to communications access and how women across Latin America are working together–using technology–to improve their lives.
I had the opportunity to speak on a panel on women’s rights, technology and social change. We talked together about how rapidly evolving communications technologies–like Facebook and Twitter, like Skype, like cell phones–are creating new possibilities for activists’ work. They are creating new chances for women confronting human rights violations to speak out, and to gain strength in the realization that they are not alone.
Through it all, I kept thinking that yes, things have changed so much. But the essence of our activist work remains the same. Organizing for human rights, especially across transnational boundaries, has always required strong communication. Thirty years of MADRE’s history more than demonstrates that. We’ve been able to create and maintain strong partnerships with women worldwide because we prioritize communicating with and listening to them. And today, we continue to build those relationships–with new tools.
For more information about this gathering, click here. And to follow the conversation live on Twitter, check out the hashtags #YahooCYW and #CambiaTuMundo.