This International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, Twitter aims at continuing to encourage women to speak up through its women empowerment initiative and safety tools in order to make them feel secure online, as well as offline.
After two successful #PositionOfStrength events in Delhi and Bangalore, our global initiative for women empowerment online launched in Mumbai last month. In an attempt to bridge the gender equality gap on the Internet, the Mumbai leg, organised in partnership with Point of View (@povmumbai), SheThePeople.tv (@SheThePeopleTV) and FemPositive (@fempositive), aimed to promote and protect women’s voices online.
Women make up only 29% of 375 million Internet users in the country, and fewer are on social media platforms (Source: Statista), and Twitter’s Internet safety and women empowerment global movement, #PositionOfStrength, aims to engage women online while educating them on Twitter’s safety tools, how to use Twitter as a platform to build a profile and create influential personal brands, have a voice through alternative narratives and counter speech, and Tweet with confidence from a #PositionOfStrength.
The first Asian edition of the initiative was organised in Delhi in February 2016, and it subsequently travelled to Dubai, Singapore, and Indonesia, and then Bangalore in May 2016. In the third edition in India in Mumbai, 25 Indian women influencers from varied backgrounds came together to share their experiences and their views on female empowerment on Twitter.
Some of the women influencers invited to the Mumbai event included Paromita Vohra (@parodevi), Aditi Mittal (@awryaditi), Chhavi Sachdev (@chhavi), Shaina NC (ShainaNC), Kaneez Surka (@kaneezsurka), Pearl Miglani (@PearlMiglani), Reema Prasanna (@ScrollsNInk), Rimjhim Ray (@GlobeSlother), Ramya Pandyan (@ideasmithy) and Sannuta Raghu (@sannuta). These influential women highlighted how they used the platform in their personal as well as professional life.
They also provided their perspectives on using Twitter as a #ForceForGood for women in society, and shared their experiences on navigating Twitter successfully. .
The #PositionOfStrength movement includes a closed-door roundtable and a workshop with leading women influencers discussing how more women can be encouraged to express themselves safely, both online and in the physical world.
Twitter a #ForceForGood
#PositionOfStrength is as much about women’s empowerment, as it is to empower and help all other people on the platform. Following the roundtable, Twitter conducted a workshop to train 13 NGOs on how to use the platform effectively to achieve different objectives. The NGOs talked about how they use Twitter for fundraising, collaboration and networking. For instance, iCALL (iCALLhelpline), a non-profit counselling helpline set up by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (@TISSpeak) has launched an online hashtag campaign, #PickUpThePhone to spread awareness regarding mental health.
Safecity (@pinthecreep), Responsible Netism (@Rnetism), CraYon Impact (@crayon_impact) are some of the other organisations that shared the work they do on the platform, which ranges from documenting sexual harassment, building communities, spreading awareness, providing support and reaching out to those in distress.
Women speak up: Twitter hashtags that have sparked debates
It is imperative for individuals to understand that your voice matters. They have the power to challenge and engage with the issue through counter speech. Through this initiative, we want women to Tweet from a place of confidence and speak their truth about the world and the issues they care about.
Women influencers, media persons, and politicians in India and around the world have used Twitter effectively to support female empowerment. Hashtags such as #MyFirstPublicIndecency, #WhyIStayed, #WhyILeft, #INeverAskedForIt are reflective of how women are using Twitter to raise awareness, build communities, and be heard. The most recent examples of this movement include #SoNotOkay and #IAmANastyWomanBecause that sparked off on Twitter during the debate season between Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) and Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump).
#PositionOfStrength also encourages men to be part of the movement by supporting initiatives like HeForShe (@HeForShe), a solidarity movement led by the United Nations (@UN) that encourages men to be part of the change.
How you can improve your experience on Twitter
Last week, we announced progress on three focus areas on the platform: controls, reporting and enforcement.
Advanced Muting Options: Along with Block and Report, Twitter’s “Mute” button allows users to mute accounts they don’t want to see Tweets from. Last week, Twitter expanded mute to where people need it the most: in notifications. This safety update enables users to mute keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations they don’t want to see notifications about.
Hateful Conduct Policy: Twitter has created a new hateful conduct option within the reporting flow to make it easier to report hateful conduct. Twitter has also expanded the types of reports that can be processed to include more bystander reports, which helps to reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse and to create a culture of collective support on the platform.
You can read about the progress we are making in tackling abuse on our latest blog here.
In its endeavour to enable users to have better control of their timeline, we recently rolled out our Quality Filter feature that automatically filters low-quality content like duplicate tweets or content that appears to be automated, when turned on in the notifications settings. Additionally, users now also have the ability to limit which notifications they receive on mobile and on twitter.com.
In relation to promoting a safer online environment for Twitter users in India, the Twitter Safety Center is now also available in Hindi. Here’s a list of accounts and hashtags you can follow to stay updated on women empowerment on Twitter.