On International Women’s Day 2016 (#IWD2016), we also celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of #PositionOfStrength, our homegrown safety and empowerment program for women. This global initiative aims to harness the voices of women on our platform and encourage them to speak out online from a #PositionOfStrength.
We’ve worked hard to make the Twitter platform safer for users through a range of policies, tools, enforcement, education, and partnerships, but we recognise that a small number of people can use online platforms to harass or intimidate others in order to silence them. Women of stature, power, and firm opinions can be the targets of online abuse, and we want to continue supporting the power of women’s voices on our platform.
So, in March 2015 we partnered with @WomensAgenda in Australia to take the #PositionOfStrength initiative to 20 influential women including athletes, politicians, entertainers, psychologists, journalists, and business and NGO leaders. We wanted to understand how they used Twitter to build their own personal profile and networks, and also to understand how they dealt with negativity online.
Based on their feedback, we developed a program that included hands-on support, panel discussions, safety workshops, networking opportunities, and 140-second soapbox speeches by influential women (and men) to inspire, unite, and empower. #PositionOfStrength aims to equip women with the tools and strategies to safely deal with negative interactions, and share their engaging, unique stories with the world — unfiltered and on their own terms.
Following five events across Australia, the concept flourished into a multi-national initiative that has transcended languages, cultures, and continents. From its beginnings in Australia, #PositionOfStrength events have now taken place in far-flung locations such as Dublin, Delhi, and Dubai.
Hundreds of influential and inspirational women across the world have supported the initiative to date, including Australian Foreign Minister @JulieBishopMP, TV journalists @Sandra_Sully and @BeckyCNN, Indian cricket legend @ChopraAnjum and @QueenRania of Jordan.
We’re also bringing our safety and empowerment training to the next generation of impressive young women, including university students in India and the Millennial set through #NextGen, to promote the raising of youth voices for positive social action. We’ve been amazed by these young women’s insights and creative uses of the platform for social good.
We’re proud of what #PositionOfStrength has achieved so far, but there’s still much more to be done to further support women’s empowerment online. We’ll continue to reach out to spread our message around the world through more targeted events and work to give women the tools, skills, and knowledge to embrace a #PositionOfStrength online.
We believe that everyone has a story to tell, and we’re here to help you tell yours. We invite you to join the movement by finding out about local events on our blog and tweeting #PositionOfStrength to grow our network of empowerment across the globe.