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Women Talk Online

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Women are fighting back!

Deutsche Welle’s Best of Blogs Awards 2013, better known as the Bobs, has come to a close and the winners have been announced. The nominees for this year’s prize included several multimedia projects, such as the blog “Morsi Meter” from Egypt which measures whether President Morsi is fulfilling his electoral promises or not.  Women Talk Online spoke to Ute Schaeffer, Deutsche Welle’s chief editor and asked her how women’s blogs fared in the Bobs this year.

Manasi Gopalakrishnan: What role do you think women and women’s blogs played in this year’s Bobs? Could you give us an example?

Ute Schaeffer: Three out of our six jury winners in this year’s Bobs awards are blogs by women or dealing with women’s issues. This already shows that women and their web projects played a massive role in this year’s Bobs.

They shed light on very different issues. Our winner in the category “Best Social Activism” is the campaign “475” from Morocco. 475 is an article of the Moroccan law that allows a rapist to escape punishment if he marries his victim. It is a horrible, out-dated law! The online campaign “475” finally raised awareness to this kind of violence against women – in Morocco and elsewhere. We’ve heard about the rape cases in India, we’ve heard about violence against women in Bangladesh, in Brazil. This is quite a universal issue – and it needs to stop!  So “475” is a good example for an initiative that can be useful to stop it.

This year’s “Global Media Forum Award” goes to a Bengali project called “Infoladies”. It is about determined, active women who are taking their fate and that of their communities into their own hands: The Infoladies are women who are going out on bicycles into remote areas. And they bring many u

Ute Schaeffer, Chief Editor, Deutsche Welle

seful things like medicine or tools – but they also bring laptops and cellphones. Using these the Infoladies are connected to a network of experts and thus can answer all kinds of questions concerning agriculture, health or education. So with this project women are helping their countries to develop.

And then there is Fabbi Kouassi. A young woman from Togo who blogs about brutalities that journalists in her country suffer. She takes a strong stance for freedom of speech. However, this is a rather universal topic, non-gender-related so to say. But still: She as a woman is fighting!

So, I am glad that these projects won because they show the different aspects and aims of women’s blogs. They show that at the Bobs we keep looking at these very important issues: Last year for example HarassMap won “Best Use of Technology for Social Good”. With HarassMap, women can report sexual harassment in Egypt – and the incidents are located on a map, so women can see which areas are rather dangerous.

Do you think blogging could help women discuss their issues more openly?

New media offers new opportunities! The internet and its tools provide a certain kind of freedom, especially for women, I think. In many societies women and their opinions are not valued enough. Their voices are drowned out in every-day life, in politics, in the economy.

On the internet, however, women can make their voices heard. And they can find like-minded women, fellow campaigners from other parts of the world. They can share experiences and knowledge and build a network supporting each other in their respective struggles.

Out there are already many, many blogs written by women and about women’s issues – and that is really important. At Deutsche Welle we are happy to support such activists in their fight for their rights – for example with an award like The Bobs.

Interview: Manasi Gopalakrishnan

Editor: Grahame Lucas


29.05.2013 | 12:18