Social media has revolutionized communication across the globe. The advent of the internet provided a platform for interaction between people from diverse backgrounds. Studies have shown that technological advancements in the Information Technology sector were driven by the desire for people to have a faster mode of interconnections. Its ability to link parties in different geographical locations enhanced its appeal and encouraged its uptake within communities. Possession of smartphones with internet accessibility further entrenched the need for a mobile platform where people could talk about official and personal matters depending on their level of engagement (Dewing, 2010). Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp provide users with unlimited opportunities for interacting with other people regardless of their location or time. It is a craze that has engulfed the global population because it liberates people into sharing personal experiences to a global audience.
Anthropologists have traced man’s channels of communication and opined that the use of social media is akin to “reinventing the wheel”. Its allure is anchored on the premise that any post can command a huge viewership. Social networking enables the user become aligned with like-minded people who share their interests, preferences, bias and philosophies (Pennock & Chapman, 2007). It simplifies the process of making new friends and helps an individual maintain a healthy life balance by spicing the social life. Having an online account in one of these platforms has become the norm while these avenues have also evolved into powerful tools for effecting change in the society. Public policy advocates concur that social networking is a productive alternative for sensitizing the public on specific agendas. For example, statistics indicate that 74% of women are active social media users while only 62% of men do.
Interactions with many users and businesses confide that privacy, security and confidentiality are vital aspects of social networking. Psychologists believe that man has an inherent desire for interaction with the environment. He/she is created with the desire for a communal experience. Social media helps in creating an online community for people. It provides an avenue for expression of emotional intelligence whereby individuals learn the management of personal emotions and those of others (Qualman, 2013). Its design enables sharing of experiences and facilitates the formation of relationships. People harbor varying personality traits that are exposed through their online presence. Intrinsic and extrinsic friendships develop during virtual interactions. Aristotle’s assertion that “… a friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies” receives relevance in social networking sites because they connect a diverse group of individuals who can then embark on productive pursuits. Studies by prominent organizations imply this behavior helps in enhancing social capital. Portrayal of self-imagery using social media provides users with an identity that offers recognition of their role in the society.
Addiction to social networking is common especially among the youth. Administrators of these sites reveal that most users are affiliated to the young demographic. Exhibition of rebellious tendencies is observable in their coming of age. Users have an innate desire for feeding their curiosity and sharing their experiences with as many people as possible. They also display an affiliation for conformity which motivates their choice of online platforms. For example, Facebook managed to amass a great following because of its market penetration ability. Many people joined Facebook after learning that some of their friends were on it. Twitter introduced limits to the number of words posted on a person’s account in order to box users into uploading vital information only. Such niche marketing techniques help in the attraction and retention of customers because clients have certain expectations when maintaining their online presence. Differences in the user interface among these sites result in varying levels of interaction and people choose specific media depending on their preferences. The ability to tag along friends using an individual’s account and offering alerts to recipients provides real time associations with events and prompts responses from others. People are able to keep abreast with different experiences and track their evolution on issues by retrieving historical posts.
Social networking has undergone exponential growth within a short period.
Intense online activity correlates to improvement of social capital by bringing people closer. Information shared in this manner is sometimes personal which makes users build trust levels with their counterparts. People with more intimate connections tend to share details of their private lives with one another. They have the liberty for partial or complete disclosure to other members of the public. Interconnectedness available in the digital spheres assists in the creation of movements upon the involvement of several people. For instance, corresponding reasoning on issues is infectious. It proves that a large majority of the population is in conformity with the concept hence empowers them in advancing its ideals. Businesses realize the potential of cumulative reasoning by seeking audience with these groups of people in relation to the products and services on offer. Social networking facilitates face-to-face interactions by acting as a conduit for organizing such meetings. It provides users with prior information about other people which enriches their understanding of one another. As a complementary mechanism for in-person meetings, this technique allows interrogation of subjects too.
Profiles for social networking users vary from one country to another. In the United States, 78% of the population maintains an online connection. A vast majority of them interact more with their friends than family members and tend to drift from users with varying opinions and preferences. Confessions of most users indicate that they visit these sites severally on a daily basis and attach great significance to their status updates. Social networking enthusiasts acknowledge that status posts drive perceptions of other people and are a huge attraction. They believe that inferences made from such content shape awareness about an individual’s personality because they provide an abridged version of his/her intellect and temperament. Caution is therefore necessary when making online contacts to avoid misinterpretation whose erasing may be difficult. Users also confide great relief when making online contributions because they feel empowered in expressing their opinions. Global visibility for their digital lifestyles is an additional incentive for continuing online engagement and industry projections signal an upward trend for many years. Uncertainty of web connections stemming from the likelihood of misuse by unscrupulous users endangers this phenomenon and sometimes dampens its usage. People are however optimistic of its long-term viability.
Discrimination has been in existence for a long time. Biasness against women in particular is pervasive in the society. This behavior is endemic in almost all spheres of life such as the family, workplace and educational institutions. In corporations, female staff receive unwanted sexual advances in exchange for job opportunities. They are also paid lower salaries in comparison to their male counterparts yet they perform an equal amount of work (Lawless, 2001). Stagnation in the same position for a long period is common among women employees as men gain faster promotions within companies. In fact, numerous boards of directors are described as a “boys club”. Households offer another indictment of inequality because women are forced into submissive acts of obedience to their male partners. A patriarchal structure that desires male domination over women is ongoing. As such, women are seen as sex objects for procreation and the narrative of their perceived “weaker sex” fervently repeated in many forums. There is a lack of women empowerment which destroys its victims and ruins the growth of the society (Berlatsky, 2013). The physiological toll of prejudice against women is immense. Women form a majority of the global population. Subjecting them to endless abuse and mistreatment is unfair because they deserve to live with dignity and pursue their dreams.
Gender stereotypes have an adverse effect on their victims. For example, preferential treatment of boys in attaining higher education relegates girls to lower their ambitions and makes them dependent on males. It results in a higher unemployment ratio for women while reducing their hope for a better future. They become unproductive members of the society and minimize positive contributions to its development. Such discrimination distorts the social structure because it hinders growth by making women vulnerable to machinations by men. Gender inequality is a disturbing trend that increases harassment of women. In some cases, it results in violence. This outcome is disastrous because it hinders physiological growth by increasing the amount of risk within the community. Relationships are also strained by the endless tension between men and women.
Lack of equality in the treatment of both genders creates an unfair environment that triggers uncontrollable reactions from people. Favoritism of men over women is a wrong preoccupation with psychological scars. Researchers opine that internalization of women discrimination covers a lifetime. Linkage of poor health conditions to this vice abound. Illnesses such as cancer and depression are easily identifiable with this problem. Medical professionals theorize that women encounter discrimination physically and mentally. In the latter, they develop anxiety from anticipating prejudicial treatment because of their placement at a disadvantage in most aspects of life. Forceful toleration of vigilance from this assault increases the risk of hyper awareness which affects their blood pressure. It is unenviable situation that demands collective action from all stakeholders in order to foster inclusivity at home, in the workplace and other fora.
Social networking helps in bringing people together. Different civil society organizations run programs aimed at advising women on strategies for combating inequality. In these forums, they are given tools such as acquaintance with their rights aimed at empowering them at their various stations in life. Legal representatives are always present to guide attendees on the procedures for making claims against forms of harassment while career women receive tips about contractual obligations specifying their rights. Social media is a useful tool that can be used for mobilization of potential victims. On these platforms, indications of scheduled events and their locations can be made as a way of creating awareness. Online users would be duly informed and contact details included for seeking clarifications (Bukhari & Ramzan, 2013). In this way, attendance is increased and the population is enlightened on this matter. Organizers are therefore shielded from making cumbersome logistical preparations and direct their energies on addressing attendees’ needs. Their services receive greater appreciation because they have higher concentration levels on the modalities of reducing women discrimination.
Victims of gender inequality suffer low self-esteem and lack support structures for nurturing them into full recovery (Bilkis & Sharmin, 2010). Sometimes, they detest exposing such mistreatment to the people around them and seek audience with people that are nonjudgmental. They find solace in anonymity especially on platforms dedicated to their predicament. The virtual sphere created through social networking meets their desires and is available at their disposal. For example, counselling services can be uploaded on popular sites with interactive portals in order to facilitate genuine exchanges with different women. This would link professional care givers with clients and aid in reducing the scourge. Such information is placed in the public domain and anybody with an internet connection would access it. Such actions would therefore attract millions of people and help outreach efforts geared towards ending this vice. Occurrence of women discrimination is erratic. Some users lack the resources for seeking professional help. Neglecting them would be detrimental to their reintegration into the society and worsen their conditions. Linkage through social networking heightens the possibility of interacting with victims in their turf. They are more likely to open up. A higher reception of advice is possible under these terms. Enhancement of literacy levels is achievable as well because users are enlightened on ways of detecting potential assaults from symptoms of their aggressors. This content is available even to young people which inculcates a culture of tolerance from an early age.
Women empowerment programs encourage usage of real experiences as learning aids. They are structured in a provocative manner in order to elicit reactions from people. This approach is valuable in displaying the negative effects of inequality and advancing the ideal situation envisioned for all genders in the society. Injection of reality in the coverage of such sensitive topics gives them authenticity and encourages others to come forward while discouraging offenders from repeating such vile acts (Das & Sahoo, 2012). Social networks provide an avenue for posting these stories which enlighten the public on the need for equality. Placement of accounts of abusive events is recommended and follow-up testimonies revealing success in life are favored. It would help rejuvenate debate on this issue, affirm the strong belief for a just society and reassure women undergoing similar predicaments that options are available for reversing the wrongs committed. Users strike a common identity with other members because the experiences resonate with their daily interactions. They regain their confidence and become optimistic about overcoming similar struggles. Believing in the power of recovery marks a major step in offloading one’s insecurities. For instance, motivation for seeking help arise from watching success stories of people facing comparable treatment. It provides a chance for confronting doubts and facilitates deletion of a “weak” mentality.
The search for gender equality is intertwined with the quest for social justice. Public institutions have a responsibility for their enforcement. Securing appointments with public officials is difficult for a majority of the population (Watson, 2011). Government bureaucracy slows involvement of the authorities and sometimes aggravates the situation because they can claim aloofness. Social media sites are useful in increasing the pressure for intervention of the authorities. Using different members, mistreatment of women at home, workplace and other public spheres can be made part of the national discourse. These portals offer quick connections to millions of people whose mobilization will attract publicity. Making specific demands from elected officials is also possible using these forums. Constitutionally, petitions are allowed when they surpass a certain minimum target. Physical mobilization of people is taxing and requires a lot of resources. An alternative exists in virtual spaces. Drafting of such petitions through this network is a viable option of attracting the attention of relevant authorities and holding them accountable. Forming of reference points becomes easier for the public because responses from concerned officials are available to the electorate. A spotlight of this issue receives prioritization due to public demand and makes implementation of existing statutes a reality. Having legal backing in the struggle for women’s rights is vital in guaranteeing non-reversal of the gains achieved thus far. Subjecting elective officials and their party ideologies to upholding the standard of equity is instrumental in institutionalizing the fair treatment of women everywhere.
Photographs and videos are effective ways of disseminating information. They act as evidence of numerous events and are easily believable by many people. Discrimination of women is an illegal practice that is sometimes performed in a subtle manner. Perpetrators tend to mask such actions especially when committed in public spaces. Relying on the word-of-mouth is tricky because offenders may cast aspersions on their victims. Having recordings of these occurrences is vital in shaming them and seeking interventions from stakeholders. Users in most social media platforms are involved in different careers and placement of such material would trigger sympathetic responses for quick action (Pernisco, 2010). For example, law enforcement officials are active members of these media and better suited in dealing with criminal activities. In fact, policing benefits from such public support and concentration of officers in more serious violations of the law, like murder is enhanced. Placement of recordings on public social networking sites causes embarrassment of affected individuals and attracts backlash. It therefore ensures that culprits are apprehended while increasing public awareness of the plight of women.
Fighting gender imbalance is costly. It requires enormous resources in making publications, covering legal fees, paying social service workers, running advocacy programs and nurturing victims into recovery. Social networking enhances chances of benefiting from additional cash for covering these expenses. Crowd funding is a great way of engaging the populace on such noble causes because it capitalizes on pooling money from a variety of sources. Using existing online friends and banking on the support of other users, generation of more capital is attainable. Maintaining a pulse on the progress of this struggle is also easier using this platform. For example, conduction of surveys and their subsequent release is doable using this medium. The findings provide informative reflections of the evolution of women’s rights which helps steer the movement into accomplishing its aim. Financial obligations sometimes threaten participation of people in life-changing projects. Availability of income sources is a crucial liberator of activism stakeholders. Judging from the fundraising response, deductions on the state of overcoming women discrimination are feasible. Contributors display allegiance to the causes that warrant their money. Their support reaffirms the ever-rising attitude of gender bias as a basic human rights violation. Social networking sites hasten this process (Ramaraja, 2012).
Volunteering in community work forms part of public participation in civil responsibilities. Volunteers enable completion of projects at minimal costs while enhancing visibility of the cause. Digital arenas include challenging activities that seek the user’s input. Social networking can be harnessed in solving gender inequality problems by challenging members into making positive contribution to its ideals in their localities. For example, Twitter is infamous for stimulating creation of thematic hashtags that seek involvement in particular events. Using similar motives, people can be challenged into making tangible changes to unfair gender practices in their environment. Provision of incentives for the respondents increases the level of attraction and widens the target audience. It rallies people to the initiative.
Podcasts are essential tools for passing important messages online. They are simple but effective transmitters of information available to users irrespective of their jurisdiction. Integration of these videos and audio messages in social networking sites is critical in changing the narrative peddled about women’s supposed inferiority. They become proof of the dynamic role played by women in different cultural settings (Haugen & Musser, 2014). The tools also arm viewers with material for combating negative perceptions prevalent in communities by highlighting successful corrective measures undertaken by fellow enthusiasts in varying geographical locations. Their inclusion extends the mileage achieved from subsequent publicity because they raise consciousness levels. Encouraging public involvement of men in this struggle is integral in changing the discrimination curve. As a communal portal, it offers the best opportunity for making one’s stand on such controversial topics known. Challenging male members of the society into showing their commitment to fairness and equity through these sites rekindles the debate and brings them into confrontation with this habit. It reminds them of their moral responsibility towards mothers, wives and sisters. Seeking acknowledgement and dedication of men for elimination of women abuse using this media depicts an advancement of gender parity. It forces the adoption of model behavior among users in order to stall the transfer of similar traits to future generations.
Mass media outlets are influential in instilling beliefs among the young and adult demographics. For example, scripting of movies directly impacts opinions of viewers depending on the on-screen plot. Most media houses also maintain an online presence for use in marketing their products and providing fans with updates of other releases. Holding virtual discussions about female role plays in cinematic shows is an important step in halting further distortions of the worth of women. They generate reactions from consumers which force the modification of future releases by producers to suit overriding desires for change. The threat of boycotts is sufficient in attracting corrective measures from respective studios (Manoela, 2012). Offering suggestions for on-air content in both television and radio channels is another approach with similar intentions.
Setting of anonymous sites dedicated to abolition of women discrimination is an approach employable in this situation. Concealing identities of reporters protects their privacy while its existence casts a shadow over offenders. Public knowledge of this avenue acts as a deterrence for them because they never know the moment they may be exposed. It also enriches the confidence of women even in their places of work because they understand the power of trolls.
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