Twitter is one of the tools of the social media age that allows you to engage, connect and learn more at the click of a button. If you are thinking about joining in with women’s human rights campaigning in these #16days of activism (and beyond!), Twitter is a good place to start. You can read fresh articles, “listen” in on conversations on #vaw, and find out about a myriad of non-profit organisations and activists that are striving to make the world a better place for women and girls.
Want to know what your favourite anti-Violence Against Women organisations are up to? Then delve into the Twittersphere and find out in real time! Twitter allows us to find out about the latest campaigns, events and news going on in the movement. All you have to do is log on and tune in…
Today, we bring to you our second annual list of 16 organisations and activists that have found a way of making the Twittersphere work in their favour. Their tweets are informative, exciting, and think faster than the Internet can update. In other words: perfect examples of how social media can be a powerful tool for anyone who wants to join the fight towards gender equality.
Introduction by Angelique Mulholland with updates by Regina Yau; Twitter list compiled by Jerica Nonell; Curated and edited by Carol Olson and Regina Yau.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 1: Ann-Marie Wilson (@AM28toomany)
Ann-Marie Wilson is the founder of an amazing organisation that fights Female Genital Mutilation called 28 Too Many. This organisation researches ways to enable local organisations throughout the African diaspora and allow them to fight to end the practice of FGM by providing them with tools and knowledge. Ann-Marie Wilson’s twitter is her personal account, which chronicles 28 Too Many’s events, as well as her thoughts and input on events around the world. She is endlessly fascinating and is unrelenting in her fight against FGM.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 2: Bell Bajao (@bell_bajao)
Bell Bajao, which means ‘Ring The Bell’ in Hindi, is an India-based anti-Violence Against Women campaign by Breakthrough – an international human rights organisation using the power of popular culture, media, leadership development and community education to combat violence against women. Bell Bajao started as series of trend-setting PSAs teaching audiences how to intervene to stop domestic violence by ringing the bell. Currently, they are campaigning to get 1 million men to pledge to stop violence against women in their communities. Bell Bajao’s Twitter account is lively with plenty of news about their campaigns and the latest updates on anti-Violence Against Women initiatives in India. They also jointly run a monthly Tweet-a-thon with The Pixel Project which has created hashtags such as #CyberVAW that has trended worldwide.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 3: Elisabeth Corey (@BeatingTrauma)
Elisabeth Corey is a human trafficking and abuse survivor who uses technology to help other survivors in their path to recovery. Corey is rather new to the field of human trafficking advocacy but her voice is fresh and new. Her Twitter documents both her own path towards recovery and resources that are available to other survivors. Many of her tweets, which are linked to her blog, deal directly with the healing process and how to handle PTSD and disassociation. She gives a raw look into the world of recovery, which is needed in a society where many people do not understand how PTSD can affect a person. She highlights the positive of her recovery and the discoveries that she comes across through her own journey.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 4: EVAW Coalition (@EVAWhd)
End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition is an organisation that works to end violence towards women throughout England and beyond. They provide information about VAW in all facets – FGM, trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence. One of their recent campaigns is asking women and artists to fight back against sexist and racist music videos called Rewind Reframe. Their Twitter stream is a constant update on this campaign and others, highlighting artists that involve themselves in their work. Currently, it consists mostly of Rewind Reframe and which videos need to be rethought. You can easily join the campaign and let them know which videos you think showcase women, especially women of color, in a negative spotlight.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 5: FORWARD UK (@forwarduk)
The Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development, aka FORWARD UK, is a British organisation that works towards helping African women and girls to end FGM and child marriage. The organisation is nearly 30 years old and focuses on both African communities and the UK to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights. Many are unaware that practices such as FGM exist outside of African countries, but organisations such as FORWARD UK make sure to address the issue throughout all of the African diaspora. Their work throughout the UK and Africa saves lives and they have found the perfect way to incorporate such important messages through social media and make it effective.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 6: Girls Not Brides (@girlsnotbrides)
Girls Not Bride fights child marriage by working with NGOs around the world. By joining the communities around the world that practice child marriage, activists and those effected by child marriage are joined together and their voices can become stronger, louder. Girls Not Brides’ Twitter account provides constant updates on the statistics of child marriage, as well as resources for child brides. Their goal is to not only end child marriage, but to also take care of current child brides. Girls Not Brides is an inspiring organisation, even when their words must fit within a 140-word character limit.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 7: Ima Matul (@imahope4freedom)
Ima Matul uses her personal encounter with human trafficking to help others that are in a similar position. Her Twitter stream provides insight into her activist work as well as suggest resources that survivors need to heal and grow. She works with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking’s Survivor leadership and advocacy programme by speaking at conferences across the United States of America. In 2011, she began coordinating the National Survivor Network, which provides survivors support, as well as ways to become an advocate for change. Her advocacy work was recognised in 2012 by President Obama and the Clinton Global Initiative in regards to their own efforts end modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 8: Leymah Gbowee (@leymahrgbowee)
Leymah Gbowee is an African women’s right advocate who founded the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and was the 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate. Gbowee’s NGO provides equal access and development opportunities to Liberians. Just ten minutes of following Gbowee’s Twitter stream is more than enough time to understand completely how she has achieved all that she has. She writes beautifully and will make you want to jump out from behind your desk and join the movement. Follow her on Twitter and get inspired to start your very own grassroots revolution!
Twitter Follow Recommendation 9: MARD (@MardOfficial)
Men Against Rape and Discrimination is an organisation ran and founded by actor and director Farhan Akhtar. MARD has received most of its acclaim through the social media spheres, especially Twitter, making it a guaranteed great resource for information about its anti-Violence Against Women work. The organisation works with men to change their perspectives regarding their attitudes and behaviors towards women. The MARD Twitter account is often seen trending whenever a story about rape or discrimination becomes global news.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 10: Minh Dang (@minhspeakstruth)
Minh Dang previously worked as the Executive Director for Jada Pinkett Smith’s anti-human trafficking campaign, Don’t Sell Bodies. She is recognised for her work with DSB as one of fifteen Asian American/Pacific Islander women by the White House earlier in 2013. She is currently an independent consultant and speaker on issues of human trafficking. Dang’s Twitter account is a great resource for those who wish to keep up with developments in stopping human trafficking in the modern world. She knows the topic like the back of her hand and spreads her knowledge in a very accessible way via Twitter. Dang still works closely with DSB and many of their events are highlighted throughout her tweets.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 11: NO MORE (@NOMOREorg)
NO MORE is a brand-new celebrity-driven campaign fighting against domestic violence and sexual assault. Their goal is to create a symbol that provides unity for those affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, one which can be displayed during high-profile media coverage or through one-on-one situations. NO MORE wants to end the stigma and silence surrounding these violent acts. Their most recognised PSAs involve the cast from Law and Order: Special Victims Unite and play during televised events, such as NASCAR. NO MORE’s Twitter will keep you up-to-date on the progress of their PSA campaign and how to get involved with their campaign.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 12: Say No UNiTE to End Violence against Women (@SayNo_UNiTE)
“Say No – UNiTE to End Violence against Women” is a major campaign that the UN create to spur global action to stop violence against women. Run by UN Women, the Say No – UNiTE campaign uses its unique platform to spread the word about advocacy efforts from around the world, both offline and on. Their Twitter account retweets from various global organisations about the work that they are doing. They promote the achievements of others and open up new opportunities for people around the world. Following Say No – UNiTE on Twitter is a must if you wish to keep up with what’s happening globally to stop violence against women. Say NO – UNiTE is also a partner of The Pixel Project.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 13: The SOLD Project (@thesoldproject)
The SOLD Project is an organisation that provides scholarships for at-risk children throughout Thailand. They focus on the issues of human trafficking, child prostitution, and sexual exploitation by recognising the key contributing factors, such as poverty and lack of education. They are very active on Twitter and is a great way to stay informed on the Thailand’s changing atmosphere of human trafficking. Through their Twitter account, The SOLD Project provides followers with a wealth of knowledge about human trafficking, including statistics and updates on films on the subject.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 14: White Ribbon (@whiteribbon)
White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. They work to examine the root causes of gender-based violence and create a cultural shift that helps bring us to a future without violence. Their Twitter account is a useful resource for anyone who wishes to keep tabs on how men are helping to stop violence against women and girls as they use it to share news about their campaigns as well as news from White Ribbon participants, ambassadors and movements around the world. The White Ribbon campaign is a partner of The Pixel Project.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 15: Women Under Siege (@WomenUndrSiege)
Women Under Siege is a journalism project by the Women’s Media Center to investigate how sexual violence is used as a weapon during conflict and war. Though many people know that rape is weaponised to subjugate entire communities and countries, it is not a topic that can be talked about easily. We know it is there but the stories are not always easy to reach. Through their Twitter account, Women Under Siege gives these stories and the facts and figures behind them a high profile platform to help raise awareness about the atrocities and motivate the global audience to do something about them.
Twitter Follow Recommendation 16: Women’s Voices Now (@WomensVoicesNow)
Women’s Voices Now is an organisation put together to empower Muslim women by promoting free expression. They are working to make women’s voices heard as they speak out against inequalities and violence. An interesting aspect of this organisation is that it uses and hosts films regarding the topics that they are passionate about, and was even able to start hosting film festivals in the United States. Their Twitter account brings these voices directly to you. Follow their tweets and click their links, and you will never feel far away from making the world a better, more tolerant place.