In 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City to demand better pay, better working hours, and the right to vote.
In 1909, the United States celebrated the first Women’s Day.
And today, in 2011, on International Women’s Day, the United Nations advocates to bring the security and liberty that equal access to education, training, science and technology offer to women across the world.
In Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World, we discuss how the Ushahidi text messaging platform was developed in Kenya to document election violence and grew to document emergency situations, medical resources and missing persons in Haiti.
With 90 percent of the world’s population with access to a mobile phone signal, there are many opportunities to provide health, safety, education and business services to remote and developing communities.
In Sub-Saharan Africa and developing countries in Asia, women say that mobile phones make them feel safer, more connected, and more independent. Half of these women report that mobile phones increase their incomes and professional opportunities. Yet 73 per cent of women in these countries have no mobile phone. Some are not allowed to have a phone.
In 2008, 83 per cent of Egyptian woman reported being sexually harassed. HarassMap was created to help identify dangerous neighbourhoods via text, Facebook, and Twitter and to prioritize community outreach in those areas. Egypt recently received The World Economic Forum’s lowest ranking for women’s equality for dismal literacy, employment and health rates.
The mWomen Program, launched with support from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010, plans to halve the number of women in developing countries without a mobile phone within three years. mWomen hopes to provide phones to 150 million women.
A hundred years since the first celebration of International Women’s Day, today a million women in Egypt are planning a march to improve the rights for women and to acknowledge the role of women in the revolution.
We have seen how internet innovations like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and text messaging have enabled citizen’s ability to connect and collaborate with their peers to develop a new model of social and democratic revolution.
We now look to the road ahead, with the possibilities of social media transforming the women’s movement in Egypt and the world.
Learn more about International Women’s Day and events in your country.
Visit our Women’s Day Homepage.