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Women Warriors on the Web: Using the Internet to Initiate Change

The Internet has allowed people from just about every corner of the world to communicate. Unfortunately, there are individuals who misuse this technology. Bullying Statistics reported that i-SAFE Foundation discovered that more than 1 in 3 young people have been cyberbullied online, and over 25% of the victims have experienced this a number of times.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, are individuals and groups who use the Internet as a platform to help protect people and initiate change. This article puts a spotlight on three women who can be considered as positive influences in terms of initiate change and breaking down doors for women and children across the world.

Stephanie Hankey, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Tactical Technology

(source: Tactical Technology) as the image

Stephanie Hankey combined her knowledge of technology as well as her activism to co-found Tactical Technology, a German non-profit organization that was founded in 2003. The organization is dedicated to promoting technology as a platform for activism. It has a multisectoral membership, with tech experts, activists, human rights advocates, designers, journalists, and ordinary citizens working together to help increase awareness about the power and dangers of technology.

Aside from promoting online activism, their team is also dedicated to protecting people, especially campaigners, from being harassed online, which they are in danger of because of the high profile work they carry out. In 2016, the organization worked with a number of women’s rights advocates to train them in various digital and physical security protocols to help protect them from being attacked online.

Hankie is also an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. She co-authored Visualizing Information for Advocacy.

Carolyn Danckaert, Co-Founder of “A Mighty Girl”

(Source: A Mighty Girl) as the image

Carolyn Danckaert, is one of the co-founders of A Mighty Girl, which is steadily gaining popularity in social media for its online campaign to empower girls. While A Mighty Girl is described as a “collection of books, toys, movies, and music,” it is more than that, because it delivers a message that girls are not just sidekicks; rather, they are the heroes of their own stories. The website regularly posts profiles of “Mighty Girls,” or women who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields.

According to an interview with On the Dot Woman, Danckaert said that “A Mighty Girl” is not just about entertainment; it is intended to provide strong role models for girls so that they themselves will be able to explore who they are and what they want to do in life.

Danckaert is an alumna of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She, together with her “A Mighty Girl” co-founder Aaron Smith, are proponents of women’s and environmental rights.

Kate Pietrasik, Founder of Tootsa

(Source: Tootsa) as the image

Kate Pietrasik founded Tootsa with the idea of introducing the concept of gender equality to the children’s fashion industry. She noticed that most clothing outlets show a clear divide between girls’ and boys’ wear, which, while looking fashionable, also promotes traditional societal concepts of gender and sexuality. She told the Huffington Post that she founded the clothing company to offer quality unisex clothes that would allow children to be children. It is also worth noting that the brand takes pride in selling exclusively ethical clothing, a term that pertains to apparel produced free from exploitation, whether it is in terms of the people, animals, or the environment that relates to its manufacturing processes.

Through Tootsa, Pietrasik is not only able to promote the concepts of gender equality and cruelty-free clothing; she is also able to support other advocacies. For instance, Tootsa has collaborated with charities Surfers Against Sewage and Refuge — for Women and Children Against Domestic Abuse.

When people hear the word “advocacy,” the image that usually comes to mind is people marching down the streets, chanting and waving placards around. However, these women have proven that you do not necessarily have to do these things to campaign for a cause. Their passion, coupled with technology, have allowed them to actively promote what they believe in. While there is still a lot of cyberbullying going on, these women, in their own different ways, are helping change the mindsets of people.