With the constant bursts of online sharing, I do love that the world has become smaller and that our private thoughts are broadcasted almost as quickly as we think them…
But we have a choice to entertain these thoughts. We can scroll by, retweet, Facebook share and in the case of hashtags, we can just # them. Sadly once seen, these ideas are added to our fertile minds. I know a few offensive hashtags loomed around in my head before I really realised they were there. I don't know how much these "invisible"thoughts fester in our minds, could they be encouraging gender biases without us realising it?
I enjoy social media and I'm fortunate enough to post for Future Africa and the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP). Future Africa is a super beautiful institute with fab ideas on solving Africa's challenges by bring the right people together! The ASLP:) has the most special place in my heart and is a programme that up-skills African researchers with leadership tools, so they have a better impact. Mostly, I post about the cool things that fellows do, education pieces off The Conversation and leadership opportunities across the continent. Through all these social interactions, I came across some interesting #'s, two that really capture my attention #menaretrash and #thefutureisfemale
Hashtags in line with these will not be used for as long as I'm behind the keyboard. When did gender exclusion the other way become ok? Not all men are not trash and an exclusively female future seems pretty awkward:) I might be taking these too literally but I think it highlights the rise of sexism around us. I saw the best post, a lady holding up a banner that said "the rise of females does not mean the fall of men" In fact the rise of females could have some happy implications for the economy and lowering some of the depression in society.
As a women, I have no intention of being part of movements that simply reverse sexist behaviour. I would appreciate having an equal opportunity to the man next to me and I think it's up to women to rise up to the opportunities if they want more of a say. Or go create opportunities, kick up a fuss, go fight the issue! Don't go after half the planet though....there are loads of men who empower women all the time and I don't see their hashtags trending.
Simply hash-tagging and man hating is not going to balance the gender gaps that bother us ladies. We all know that time is limited, let's use it better, lets focus on equalising opportunities.
I totally realize that this is complicated, women have different challenges, sure. Fight for what you need. Focus on your success journey. Throwing shade at men, who might not even care, takes from us. While the focused men just go about succeeding, probably not even checking our angry posts. Even scarier..using a hashtag like #menaretrash in your movement could very well be repelling groups of people who could help your cause.
Future Africa and the ASLP are standing up to Africa's challenges. This means people need to get with the vibe of inclusivity and collaboration across fields. These are tall orders but imagine the results that come from this kind of network. Next time you post, consider your hashtags and if needed, replace those sexist #'s for some kinder options (",). Here are some hashtags I look forward to using across the accounts I lead:) #equalopportunities #fearlessfemales #genderinclusivity #womenempowerment #riseofpeople #genderequality