Women Power?

Here’s a discussion I’ve had on Twitter. Make up your own mind.

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the_anke Anke Holst Jul 07, 04:05 PM
really? @women_power? I can’t even begin to write down the amount of problems I have with that.

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Quote @theimp67 re. @women_power: And, oh. my. god. reading that blog, it’s like a bad case of social media buzzword / wankword bingo <- lol

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Annemcx Anne McCrossan Jul 07, 04:07 PM
@the_anke a problem shared is a problem halved – me too actually

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laurahyde laurahyde Jul 07, 04:16 PM
@the_anke agree totally re. your comment @women_power

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Phoebe_Phoenix Rebecca Roderick Jul 07, 04:35 PM
@the_anke Hi Anke. Couldn’t help but notice your comment about @women_power. Perhaps we can talk?

the_anke Anke Holst Jul 07, 05:07 PM
@Phoebe_Phoenix Yes, maybe that would be good. So far what I’ve seen doesn’t convince me of the concept. At all.

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Phoebe_Phoenix Rebecca Roderick Jul 07, 05:10 PM
@the_anke We only started yesterday! Give us a chance! Come join in. Let’s make it work for us!

the_anke Anke Holst Jul 07, 05:34 PM
@women_power the web should be the last place where we need to be judged by gender. And the word Empower makes me cringe (and not just me.)

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women_power women_tweeters Jul 07, 05:47 PM
@the_anke maybe because I’ve been in South Africa, empowerment has different connotations for me. Will have a think about what you’ve said.

women_power women_tweeters Jul 07, 05:37 PM
@theimp67 The former. It’s about creating a space free of unethical followers, all of whom are interested in empowering women on the web.

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theimp67 Paul I Jul 07, 05:48 PM
@women_power But why identify yourselves by gender, surely better to group round a common goal rather than a gender? @the_anke

Annemcx Anne McCrossan Jul 07, 04:50 PM
@the_anke by contribution, yes, by gender, don’t think so. Soft power has a part to play as an idea far more than as social clique, agree

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theimp67 Paul I Jul 07, 06:06 PM
@Annemcx @the_anke Once you start to identify yourself by an attribute, gender in this case, you turn it in to “them and us”

women_power women_tweeters Jul 07, 06:06 PM
@theimp67 @the_anke I could write a dissertation on empowerment! 140 characs just can’t cut it! Hey you guys have been great.

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women_power women_tweeters Jul 07, 05:58 PM
@theimp67 @the_anke so the title is less about having a women only group but more of a group directed at catering to women on Twitter.

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women_power women_tweeters Jul 08, 08:19 AM
But that’s what sleep deprivation does. Couldn’t sleep last night. was laughing. @the_anke ‘s comments about my blog made me giggle!

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the_anke Anke Holst Jul 08, 08:23 AM
RT @women_power: Couldn’t sleep last night. was laughing. @the_anke ‘s comments about my blog made me giggle! <- riiiiight.

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women_power women_tweeters Jul 08, 08:27 AM
@the_anke no seriously. I meant it. I did laugh. even at the time. we need to build this. and your conversation really helped.

the_anke Anke Holst Jul 08, 08:25 AM
.@women_power so now, rather than answering honest concerns I share with @annemcx, @laurahyde etc re. your concept, you choose to ridicule?

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women_power women_tweeters Jul 08, 08:31 AM
@the_anke @annemcx, @laurahyde If you don’t want to that’s also ok.But I wasn’t ridiculing you in any way.I thought your comments helpful.

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women_power women_tweeters Jul 08, 08:43 AM
@the_anke @annemcx, @laurahyde @theimp67 But I think we can work with that going forward!

My issues:

    The blog is full of meaningless platitudes like empowering women.
    On asking for clarification of this term, not only did I not get any clearer but also felt ridiculed.
    There is no clarification about the challenges we are supposed to be feeling which a special women’s corner is supposed to be helping with.

Please add your comments below. No, really. Do. I’ve got the swine flu so I’m supposed to be resting.

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5 responses to “Women Power?

  1. I really don’t get the ‘wimmin’ thing or what is it supposed to achieve. Gender discrimination on twitter? These are old angsts that roll back decades; we’ve moved on, really. Notions of belonging and affinity go way beyond that for me.

  2. Hmmm…

    So far as I can see, she’s not actually trying to ridicule you. On the other hand, the emotional tone of her contributions is just weird.

    The whole “Women Power” idea feels pretty vapid and I can see why you have problems with it. Responding to challenges by giggling, rather than being able to explain yourself, is pretty poor. Even if it’s just weird nervous giggling, rather than laughing at others, it’s closer to the playground than to the behaviour of a strong woman. Embarrassing stuff.

  3. I think I should start by saying I do hear the ‘oh no not that wimmin thing again’ sentiment, and in all honestly, I agree with you: it can smack of a ‘poor me’ attitude, which is certainly not want I am suggesting we need to create in here.

    That aside, despite many women actually being self-assured, confident and empowered, there are still certain barriers, challenges and issues affecting women, which still need to be addressed (e.g. pay structures, women representation at board levels), and I think there are potentially very relevant social-group-specific issues which might arise when we use interact and engage with this technology. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    The background:
    When I first heard the debate at #rebootbritain, I actually thought why on earth are we singling out female issues? But during the discussion, if you listen to what a few of the panelists were saying, underneath that there was a suggestion that perhaps some women (albeit perhaps it is not so much among younger women – I don’t know?) are not feeling fully ’empowered’ (in this instance perhaps we can use words like safe, secure, or even fully equipped with the right basic knowledge/tools or confidence) to be able to draw the most benefit from what the web offers.

    Admittedly, probably quite a foreign concept to many women in here, who will just engage with it all naturally – early adopters by our very natures.

    But for many others, Twitter can be a ‘scary,’ ‘time consuming hassle’ or ‘something else to have to learn/get to grips with’ and filled with hazards.

    Take it to a level beyond that though. When I came into Twitter recently it was simply because I had a gut feel that I needed to be in here and to find out, understand what this monkey is all about.

    As Phoebe Phoenix (me – not knowing a soul in here – remember) who runs my own firm/wanting to explore ideas, and meet with people, create/spark ideas, talk about things of interest. What has amazed me during this process, though, is that as Phoebe_Phoenix, until recently, I was following a tiny number of women: a tiny fraction of what I expected to meet.

    So my own experience was also confirming to me that there is a gap in the market to create something which facilitates creating a space where more women feel empowered to get involved, find information, come on board. If we say, come here, we’ve created a safe place for you to come, I think we can help a good many women really benefit from this globally networked world.

    As for the blog – the reason why I giggled at your comment is because quite frankly, I too, think it’s quite naff right now, and it needs some serious work. I liked your straight talk Anke – that’s what made me laugh!

  4. My personal take on this is not how we can divide the web, segregate men (myself included) or create a feminine only self help group. More how the natural skills and wasted ambitions of women in the on-line world can be used to benefit ALL.

    From personal experience there are many barriers of entry for different sections of our society which are invisible from the other side. Why else would there be practices such as usability testing? How can we benefit from the ideas and influences afforded to us from the “other side of the fence” without allowing an equal playing field for all to contribute?

    I feel that many natural skill sets and talents are not being utilised due to a one-size-fits-all mentality. If we could harness these, imagine what could be achieved?

    Everyone is equal, everyone has unique attributes, why can’t we all benefit from our differences?

  5. Here are a few of my ill-thought-through observations, including why I signed up for this group.

    At 53, I have been around the block a few times. I started work in 1974, when attitudes in the workplace were clearly discriminatory. This was a real surprise to me. Being ‘the clever one’ of the siblings, my parents had higher expectations of me than they did of my brother. It was unremarkable for me to read challenging subjects at university, when I did eventually go as a mature student. My being female was a non-issue.

    Fast forward to now. A colleague and I facilitate an informal research and learning network for senior IT, FM and HR execs. We had just had a great session on diversity in the workplace – diversity as in plurality of perspectives, talents, cultures etc. At lunch in the pub afterwards, we were three senior women and one man. As one voice, the three women (two young and in their 30s) said that gender and power in the workplace remains an issue and one that is not talked about – we’ve got it all sorted, surely?

    Let me be clear. I have no axe to grind. I have personally never felt held back for being a woman; the opposite is true – I was mentored by men who believed in me when at times I did not believe in myself (doubting yourself is not exclusive to women). I do not need my consciousness raising and I have never been more confident than I am now.

    So why did I like the idea of the group? Although I am socially comfortable with men, I can relax in the company of women in a much more complete way. And they make me laugh. The women I follow on Twitter are sassy, clever and funny. Some men like the company of men (gentlemens clubs, nights out with the boys). I thought that it might be fun to get to know a group of women on Twitter. That’s why I joined the group.

    I know, I can already do that without having to join an exclusive wimmins group. As it happens, I have gone off the idea. I realise that Pheobe was new to Twitter but the notion that the group members were expected to follow her and she not reciprocate was just weird. By the time she had relented and decided to follow, I had lost interest.

    So what do I conclude from all this? The older I get, the more I realise that it is, for me, an indication of confidence to recognise and value gender differences. My youthful ‘I am no different’ attitude was wrong. I am different and I love it. As Metalshark says above, why can’t we all benefit from our differences?

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