Commemorating International Women’s Day on Twitter

By ‎@ElaineF‎

To honour International Women’s Day (#IWD2015), we wanted to reflect on the powerful voices and movements speaking up on Twitter for women’s rights. Day in and day out across the platform, there are active conversations about a variety of women’s issues. Some of these exchanges emerge in response to global events; others originate on Twitter and inspire concrete actions.

The conversation around “feminism” has increased 300% over the past three years. Several powerful discussions and campaigns began on Twitter and have brought awareness to many millions. #BringBackOurGirls started on Twitter to call attention to the horrific mass kidnapping in Nigeria, and resulted in more than 4.5 million Tweets from across the world. #YesAllWomen, #YouOkSis, #sendeanlat, #WhyLoiter, #NotBuyingIt and many other topics demonstrate the power of hashtag activism ignited by Twitter users, particularly to give voice to lived experience. You’ll also find healthy and vital debates happening around these issues on Twitter, such as #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen or #MyFeminismLooksLike.

Prominent women taking a stance on issues can directly increase awareness via Twitter. Following Emma Watson’s (@EmWatson) speech at the UN in which she kicked off the #HeForShe campaign, not only was there a lift in the volume of Tweets sent about “feminism” (115%), but the number of people who discussed the topic nearly doubled. In India, we saw a similar effect during and following the @SatyamevJayate episode titled #ARealMan and the telecast of the short film #StartWithTheBoys by @VogueIndia featuring @MadhuriDixit which led to a sudden surge in public conversation around women’s safety and empowerment. In other words, Twitter offers a platform for reaching and inspiring a new audience.

Just last month, when Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) accepted her Oscar, she took a stand for the issue of equal pay for women. That moment surged with the third-highest Twitter activity of the night; there were 320,000 Tweets about #equalpay in the first two hours following her remarks. Earlier in the night, the #AskHerMore campaign used Twitter to bring attention to the often-vapid questions posed to women celebrities on the red carpet and solicited feedback on what the audience truly wanted to hear instead of “who are you wearing?”, while Dove (@Dove) encouraged women to #SpeakBeautiful about themselves and others online.

In the last few years, women’s safety and violence against women (#VAW) have become important topics in public conversation and debate in India. Several organizations that have been working towards increased safety of women in India came together on Twitter for a day long Tweetathon on Sunday, 8th March to hold a conversation on different issues related to #Sayfty4Women.

Every day, Twitter provides a public platform for a wide range of voices, from vanguards like @GloriaSteinem to a new generation of global leaders like @MalalaFund and other passionate advocates who want to inform, inspire and amplify their voices. You can join in the ongoing #IWD2015 conversation using the official hashtag #MakeItHappen.