Editorial: women communication and change

Editorial: women communication and change – Editorial

Publishing WIN NEWS since 1975 (International Women’s Year) has been a unique experience from which we have learned much that we would like to share. Even though the internet now seems to take over communication, it is clear that the printed word will never lose its importance worldwide.

Printed language is for keeps and carefully shaped words take on a life of their own in any language. Of course we appreciate the instant and direct communication that the internet provides especially for personal information and news. For women, as Donna Allen, the publisher of Media Report to Women so often pointed out, the internet offers the unique advantage of direct and personal communication around the world without the interference of male editors, without interpretation and judgement by a male media authority often altering the very meaning according to his interpretations and views.

It is this wonderful freedom of expression of instant communication without boundaries or censorship — made possible by the internet — that has made communication between women global and free for the first time ever in history. WIN NEWS has born witness to this unique revolution which now is enabling women to communicate directly and instantly all over the world, to share our experiences, and our accomplishments, to learn from each other’s achievements and to collaborate.

Of course we discovered that we also share our problems with women every where. In this issue we document again the horrendous brutality by men in Moslem countries — for instance in Pakistan where rape and murder flourish, supported by Islamic laws. The stoning of women to death is ordered by Islamic judges after women are raped – while the rapists go free: and this is Islamic justice!

But the hypocrisy that so terribly damages and kills women goes on at the highest international circles. As this issue goes to press another international AIDS Conference is reported by the news “In Africa ever more women — especially young women are dying from AIDS: WHY? The answer is RAPE. Every African male believes traditionally that every girl is there for him to rape. But the International AIDS Conferences have never mentioned this fact. Rape is widespread in all rural areas and in the schools. For instance in South Africa a recent Women’s Human Rights research report (reviewed in WIN NEWS) documents all the details including the involvement of male teachers. But the ultimate misogyny by the international community is that these documented facts have never been discussed!

To start WIN NEWS in 1975 took a lot of perseverance and the belief that women would prevail that we would find ways to make our shared concerns heard across all political borders and that women all over the world can communicate and collaborate. We shared our concerns and most of all our objectives and goals and beliefs. Much has changed in the last 25 years around the world — thanks to the support and efforts of women working for the United Nations: yet our revolution has barely begun.

The oppression of women in Afghanistan could not be concealed, the killings and rapes of women in Pakistan and many other countries become known all over the world. Female Genital Mutilation and other damaging traditions could no longer be hidden including by UNICEF and WHO, male dominated African Governments and NGOs. The Inter African Committee on Traditional Practices took on FGM and other damaging traditions: and all over the world women joined together demanding action for change. It is women who have taken on the issue to stop ongoing violence — such as the UNIFEM campaigns against the violence by which men rule the world and exploit the earth…

We are able to organize across all political and language barriers as the World March for Women has shown. We are no longer a silent majority hidden away and exploited by the Taliban and the Saudis and other traditionalists such as the Vatican.. So far our main objectives have been to defend and protect ourselves: communication — the internet — is an essential tool that supports all feminist activities.

But now the time has come when it is essential to develop new objectives, new ways of cooperation (instead of competition) and new shared goals for human development. We have the power to initiate change because we teach our children. Starting with each family — where children first learn from their mothers- we demonstrate the importance of mutual support — as Riane Eisler pointed out in her work on Partnership that is the basis for a new productive and cooperative way of life. (See spring issue of WIN NEWS. The contributions of women need to be made known, given priority and support.

Cooperation should be taught by all education systems around the world instead of competition and domination enforced by violence. Violence — the ultimate male weapon — has never achieved anything but destruction. It is time we try another way and put our energy behind the female way of communication and cooperation to achieve partnership. The choice is yours.


COPYRIGHT 2002 Women’s International Network

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group