Lali Sandiumenge. The construction of a new Mediterranean Sea: women, youngsters and new forms of participation

Notes from the The construction of a new Mediterranean Sea: women, youngsters and new forms of participation seminar, organized by the Fundació CatDem, in Barcelona, Spain, on December 12th, 2014.

Lali Sandiumenge.
The construction of a new Mediterranean Sea: women, youngsters and new forms of participation

Asmaa Mahfouz calls on January 18, 2011, all Egyptians to go down to Tahrir Square on January 25.

Rima DAli protests before the Syrian Parliament on April 2012:

Women had always been active on networks and offline politics, but the events of the Arab Spring boosted it to higher grounds.

Digital activism in the Arab world begins with forums, then blogs and, at last, social networking sites. First activists in the Arab world come with a technological background. They come from both secular and religious organizations. Blogging or activism in social networking site always comes from offline activism. The blogosphere helped in levelling the ground of activism in gender terms: in the blogosphere there is no difference between male and female bloggers. Blogs were used to capture media attention and, from there, to enter politics and the political agenda.

Kolena Layla — we all are Layla — was a campaign that was issued in 2006 to raise awareness on women rights inequality.

Arab techies was a group that worked as a regional network and that first met offline in 2008. The goal of Arab techies was to foster the use of technology, especially for activism and awareness raising on human rights. Arab techies also fought censorship, which was tight especially in what concerns the use of the Internet.

HarassMap is an initiative born in 2010 to raise awareness and report on sexual harassment. Similarly, OpAntiSH (operation anti-sexual harassment) created in December 2012.

At the end of 2007, social networking sites — namely Facebook and Twitter — begin to gain momentum for (online) activism as their usage expands among the population.

Despite the rapid growth, at the outbreak of the Arab Spring in early 2011 both Facebook and Twitter still had very low adoption levels, and with important gender imbalances.

[Lali describes here more than a dozen most interesting initiatives led by women in the Arab World to fight for their rights and with a special use of ICTs and social networking sites.]

Discussion

Q: These examples are very active, but are they majority or minority? Do they have a major/broad impact? Lali Sandiumenge: there especially is a qualitative impact in the sense that the Internet enables a much much more plural set of voices that now can have their voices heard. And not only heard, but very difficult to stop, both internally and externally. On the other hand, it is not only about diffusion and awareness raising, but organization: activists not any more need to remain clandestine, as they can meet online without worrying for their physical security. This has a secondary effect on disclosure of who is an activist and where: the Internet enables knowing who is fighting in what field.

Àngel Colom: Internet, in several parts of the Arab world, is acknowledge to have contributed that people could became full citizens. In some places maybe it won’t bring the revolution, but certainly deep democratic reforms.

The construction of a new Mediterranean Sea: women, youngsters and new forms of participation (2014)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2014) “Lali Sandiumenge. The construction of a new Mediterranean Sea: women, youngsters and new forms of participation” In ICTlogy, #135, December 2014. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=4284

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About Me

    I am Ismael Peña-López.

    I am professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia, and researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute and the eLearn Center of that university. I am also the director of the Open Innovation project at Fundació Jaume Bofill.