Today, Women’s Agenda is meeting with a number of influential women to launch a major partnership with Twitter Australia.
Our goal is simple: to empower more women to have a voice on Twitter and use it from a #PositionOfStrength.
It’s a goal that comes after witnessing and reporting on some powerful collaborations on social media, as well as after meeting and working with numerous women who have built great profiles and even businesses and large client bases with the help of Twitter.
Since launching Women’s Agenda in 2012, we’ve seen Twitter campaigns encourage advertisers to pull dollars from breakfast programs deemed misogynistic and offensive, venues cancel seminars with individuals believed to promote violence against women, and women reminded to ‘touch themselves’ and check for breast cancer.
We’ve seen Twitter used to raise awareness of, and give women a platform to contribute on, every issue that is core to Women’s Agenda including leadership, the gender pay gap, childcare, health and domestic violence, and wellbeing and flexible work. We’ve seen it used to share valuable career advice, inspiring quotes and images, and amplify the stats that show just how much work there is still to do for workplace gender equality.
From #HeforShe to #Questionsformen and #illridewithyou, we’ve watched and participated in major campaigns that, intentionally or not, have created plenty of pause for thought and conversations that cross into everyday chatter, hashtags that become part of the lexicon.
We’ve seen women and men share information and connect over issues they feel passionate about, and watched relationships that started with 140 character tweets come to life at conferences and events.
We’ve shared thousands of articles on Twitter, and offered numerous, live updates on issues and events.
However, we’ve also seen — and have often become the target ourselves — of nasty, hurtful and abusive language on Twitter. We have been on the receiving end of sexist, violent and offensive language from seemingly regular Twitter users, as well as ‘sock puppet’ accounts. We have seen and reported on the harrassment of other women, as well as the consequences of significant, long-term abuse on social media.
This clearly hasn’t stopped us from enjoying and making use of the platform, but it does make us question how others deal with and perceive such abuse, and whether it affects how women participate on Twitter.
When we started talking with Twitter a few months ago, we had an honest discussion about the pros and cons of the platform, and what more we believed could be done to support women. We have since learned more about Twitter’s rules, as well as the safety tools Twitter has made available to promote protective strategies online. We are also pleased to see Twitter CEO Dick Costolo publicly state he’s delivered a “wake up call” to the company on ramping up its efforts to counter abuse.
We realised a partnership with Twitter Australia @TwitterAU could see us encourage more women to not only share their expertise and opinions on Twitter, but also to educate and advise women on promoting, protecting and preserving their voices online.
The women we’re meeting today are influential across media, sport, government, business, community and health. They have big public profiles, range from being mildly to extremely active on Twitter, and have sometimes been the subject of vitriolic ‘feedback’ online.
We want to ask them not only what they get out of Twitter and how they use it to support their own work and profiles, but also how they have dealt with negativity and abuse.
Today’s lunch is the first in a series of events we’re running with Twitter this year, all to support women using the platform from a #PositionOfStrength. As well as offering plenty of editorial (and tweets) on what we can all learn from influential women on Twitter, we’ll also be announcing workshops and events designed to encourage more women to find their voice online and raise it.
Follow us on @womensagenda and #positionofstrength for more on today’s lunch. You can also follow our team, Editor @georgiedent and journalist @LuciaOC_