Today, Vital Voices joined the world in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the revolution in Egypt on January 25, 2011. I have just returned from Cairo, where we had the opportunity to partner with Yahoo! on the Change Your World! Summit to bring together women leaders in the Arab Spring revolutions throughout the region, particularly those who found voice through digital and social media.
I was inspired meeting the women who were part of the opening panel I moderated, activists from Yemen to Libya, and Saudi Arabia to Egypt. They all knew each other, not because they ever met but because they follow and inspire each other online. I was humbled by the opportunity to meet Manal Al-Sharif, the brave Saudi woman who organized and took to the roads with the Women2Drive Campaign last June, as the world watched via YouTube. She talked about driving as a symbol for the larger rights that women are trying to gain in Saudi Arabia. She said social media has given women a voice and a platform. Manal was thrown in prison after filming her famous “drive,” and she receives regular death threats, but she said that the worst consequence of her advocacy is that her son is bullied at school.
Our blog series, Women’s Voices on the Arab Spring, captures stories and perspectives from a range of women in the MENA region, including revolutionaries, entrepreneurs, IT consultants, journalists, and of thought leaders around the world. Read on, share and comment, and be a part of the conversation.
Read more about Vital Voices’ work in the Middle East and North Africa
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