Diverse voices are valued

'Diverse voices are heard' Michelle

Gender equality will be reflected in a world where diverse voices are not only heard but equally valued. This can be done through new forms of media, particularly through the internet.

Women’s voices, especially those from marginalised groups, have traditionally been given less media air time and are often confined to very specific topics. Living as a woman with a disability means I experience discrimination in more than one way and I have had to struggle to make my voice heard. The advent of the internet and its ever increasing presence in society has changed that dynamic. Traditional forms of media can be easily bypassed to bring issues to light, to suggest solutions, and to create change across a wide array of topics. Digital content has become a legitimate source of information and perspectives previously ignored can now use these platforms to share different life experiences and ideas. For many disabled women, such as myself, the internet has become both a lifeline and a political instrument.

When I first become chronically ill and disabled, the bulk of the information available about disabilities was written from a singular, clinical, medical perspective. So I began writing. What began as a way to cope with the isolation and changes due to illness, now allows me to discuss wider issues of disability and gender within the medical system. It reaches and empowers me and my fellow patients and allows me to influence the medical community both here in Australia and around the world. I am able to take control of the narrative of my life as a disabled woman. In turn, this helps change the negative societal perceptions of life with disability and what we as people, and women, are capable of.

The internet as a tool to mobilise action and demand gender equality can also be seen on a global scale, such as The Women’s Marches, or in the countrywide protests in Poland against strict new abortion laws, or the ADAPT protests in the US. Increasing access to the internet for women and girls, particularly in developing countries, is one small step to facilitate gender equality. Malala Yousefzai was eleven years old when she first wrote a blog under a pseudonym for BBC Urdu about the importance of female education. Now a Nobel Prize winner, Malala demonstrates that access to the internet can provide an avenue of power for even one person to create enormous change and bring about greater gender equality.

Michelle

 

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If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.