Digital Storytelling and Women
The below excerpt was taken from NOW Lebanon. To read more, click here.
Since 2004, social media has grown to become a determining factor in the reporting of any story we come across. Without it, one wonders what might have happened over the last 16 months in the MENA region, or if the Arab Spring would have occurred at all.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Reddit, Digg – social media is what brings many of us together. And despite the sweeping changes taking place in the Middle East, one thing remains the same: there are not as many women using social media tools as men.
In December 2011, the Arab Social Media Report released by the Dubai School of Government (DSG) showed that there is an increasing use of social media by women in the region. However, Arab female users were still outnumbered by their male counterparts with a ratio of 2:1, compared to 54 percent of women using social media tools globally.
It seems obvious, therefore, that workshops should be created to familiarize women with social media tools. Working with Lebanese civic initiative Hayya Bina, Lebanese enterprise Social Media Exchange (SMEx) has created a social media training program specifically designed for women.
“Shou Osstik?,” or “What’s your story?” in Arabic, is a six-month course that aims to educate women in digital storytelling and social media. Project coordinator Malak Zungi told NOW Extra that “we want to empower women by giving them a tool for their messages and ideas.”
Lebanese blogger Beirut Drive-by explained that “social media interaction is, in simple terms, word of mouth on a digital scale… Taking care of our resources, highway safety, the environment, dealing with the Lebanese government and blood donation are a few of the issues that one would see over and over again on the Lebanese blogosphere.”
The prolific blogger went on to say that it is because of social media, where cell phones have failed, that a digital coalition has been made possible. Indeed, as the DSG report cited, “Lebanon is the most gender-balanced of the Arab countries,” but that is only for Facebook.
To read the full article, click here.