The Global Women’s Forum took place for the first time in the MENA region this week. This was a big next step in the event’s evolution and we were delighted to be part of it.
The 2016 conference made concrete the fact that online safety and women’s empowerment are global issues and we used this incredible platform to roll out our #PositionOfStrength initiative across the region.
From elections, to business and culture, Twitter enables anyone to broadcast their voice to a global community of 300 million people in seconds. #PositionOfStrength is about encouraging women to harness that power within their societies, to speak up, to make sure their voice is heard so the voices of all women are more represented on the issues that matter most. We want to drive home the message that Twitter is a platform where your passions, ideas and opinions matter and can be communicated without fear. It is a place where meaningful change can finds its spark.
The concept is simple but powerful: partner with world-leading women’s groups to host best practice sessions and interactive safety workshops, with Twitter ambassadors providing hands-on assistance throughout the process.
The goal is more ambitious.
We want women across the Gulf region to be able to communicate in a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment online. We need and cherish women’s voices on our platform. We don’t want them to shy away from contributing because of trolls or those who seek to stifle their voices. Instead, it’s vitally important for women to animate the Twitter platform with their unique and compelling stories and to enrich the global discourse that evolves on the internet in real-time.
During the workshop sessions at this week’s Global Women’s Forum in Dubai, participants were educated on how to use Twitter as a platform to build a profile, engage proactively in discussions and create their own unique and influential personal brands. On Tuesday, there were training sessions lead by Freddie Covington (@Freddie_covi) and myself (@KiraOConnor). They focused on a creative re-introduction to Twitter including going over best practices for the platform, such as using rich media and hashtags to engage in conversation. The session then went on to discuss how to Tweet from a #PositionOfStrength and an overview of the safety tools available to users to empower them to control their experience. We also had special visits from Queen Rania of Jordan and CNN’s Becky Anderson.
Wednesday’s session consisted of a panel hosted by MENA Media Partnerships Director, Kinda Ibrahim (@kindaibrahim) and featured prominent women from across the region, including Fida Chaaban (@fida), Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah), and Heba Al Samt (@HebaAlSamt). The panel discussed how women can build their own brands and profiles, engage with others from around the globe and challenge stereotypes head on from a #PositionOfStrength. The panelists also gave practical advice on how to handle accounts that aren’t contributing to constructive dialogue or are engaging in harassment.
Twitter believes in providing a platform for everyone to speak with confidence in a secure environment. The platform and the opportunities it provides can give a greater share of voice to women and other underrepresented communities around the world. Twitter puts the microphone directly in their hands. By working collaboratively to equip women across the MENA region with with the skills, tools and knowledge to adopt a #PositionOfStrength, we are encouraging them to get the most from their experience and to cultivate a substantive presence in the global town hall of Twitter.