Niamh Haskins looks at a recent Twitter workshop which was part of the Youth Speak Forum. The workshop focused on Twitter's initiatives to increase education surrounding gender equality in social media.
One of the largest youth development organisations in the world have launched an event in a bid to get students from all over the world to discuss pressing global issues.
The Youth Speak Forum launched on Friday at the O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel in Dublin by AIESEC Ireland.
The event allowed students to engage directly with the government, corporate, education, and non-profit sectors to take action on some of the many pressing issues within UN Global Goals.
One of the highlights of the launch was a workshop presented by Twitter, with the focus of the workshop being social media’s role in improving gender equality worldwide.
The workshop discussed the experiences of women online with regard to how they have become targets of abuse and movements they have been taken to overcome it, particularly focused on Twitter's initiatives to increase education surrounding gender equality in social media.
Twitter is seen as a medium of choice for social activism due to its broad reach and simplicity.
“You’re not just broadcasting, you’re there in the middle of it,” said Emine Etili, a workshop presenter from Twitter.
“Many movements take place on Twitter and a single moment can become a movement,” said Emine.
Examples of this are the HeForShe campaign, a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by the United Nations women, the #Illridewithyou campaign, which was aimed at Muslim women who were afraid of Islamophobic backlash for wearing the hijab on public transport in Australia and the #Ilooklikeanengineer campaign, where a girl started her movement against the prejudice aimed at women in the traditionally male engineering sector.
Many people face backlash for different reasons, especially online.
“These women in particular who started these movements used something that was bad, to do something good, and the reality is that it is really quite different. And as for the response, it was surreal,” said Emine.
According to Emine, positivity and authenticity are important in getting your message across and to make it stand out in the Twittersphere.
“The messenger matters. Once you make a positive statement, you get support instantly. Your messages need to be authentic, needs to resonate, and and most importantly it needs to be one hundred percent genuine.”