#PositionOfStrength for a strong voice online

Friday, 22 May 2015

Twitter Australia and Women’s Agenda (@WomensAgenda) share a common goal: to empower and encourage more women to have a voice on Twitter and to use it from a #PositionOfStrength.

As part of this partnership yesterday in Sydney we joined forces to host an event to help women find their voice and equip them to use it as powerfully and positively as possible.

It culminated in a soapbox session where 11 passionate female leaders, including Tara Moss (@Tara_Moss), Diana Ryall (@DianaRyall) and Drisana Levitzke-Gray (@Drisanalg ) were given 140 seconds, a microphone, a small stage and a room full of people to challenge and inspire.

Sixty women and a handful of men converged at the fabulous @Adroll space in The Rocks to learn from @TwitterAU’s director of public policy Julie Inman-Grant (@tweetinjules), @WomensAgenda associate publisher Angela Priestley (@angelapriestley) and myself, the editor of Women’s Agenda.

@tweetinjules talked through the tools, rules and some of the tricks of the platform.

She focused on strategies to keep your Twitter experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

@angelapriestley and I spoke about the different ways in which Twitter has helped to amplify our own voices, the reach of @WomensAgenda and in reality the voices of hundreds and thousands of Australian women.

As always I mentioned the fact I got my job through Twitter.

I love telling people I was home on the couch on a Saturday evening, more than two years ago now, feeding a 4-month-old baby with a toddler tucked up in bed, when I received a message about this job. It demonstrates the power of the connections the platform facilitates.
In the question and answer session we discussed managing Twitter accounts for businesses and handling negative feedback.

After the session with the panellists Twitter technicians and ambassadors got to work at the tables to help put some of the theory into practice.

After the workshop it was time for the soapbox.

What happens when you give a diverse bunch of women 140 seconds, a microphone and a soapbox? Magic.

@Tara_Moss, @DianaRyall, the dynamic duo behind @projectrockit (@lucylockit & @1RosieThomas), Dr Jane Burns (@janeburns), Renata Cooper (@Angel_In_Biz ) and @Drisanalg were among the outstanding women that @TwitterAU & @WomensAgenda invited to speak up.

Each of the 11 women used the platform to call for serious change on an issue they are passionate about.
@DianaRyall implored the women in the room to seek equal pay.

@Tara_Moss asked everyone to consider what might happen if we gave as many column inches to random acts of kindness, rather than random acts of violence.

Rackspace sales manager Brooke Cerfontyne (@Brooke117), said stop waiting for the career and opportunities you want. “Do the job you want, not the job you have,” she said. “If you see something you want, go and do it.

Too fat? Too tall? Too curvy? Too skinny? Too ridiculous. @janeburns, founder and CEO of Young and Well CRC (@yawcrc), called on everyone in the room to give the middle finger to negative body image issues. (The room obliged.)

Lucia Osborne-Crowley (@luciaOC_) said violence has claimed the lives of 38 women in Australia this year. Finally, though, we are having a real conversation about this. Social media is helping the conversation about violence gain momentum. “Keeping up this relentless pressure is critical.”

@lucylockit & @1RosieThomas shared a new message to the girls of Australia. “You do not have to change who you are to be a leader, you just need the courage to become who you are.”

@Angel_In_Biz, an angel investor and the founder of Forming Circles, said it was for more men and women to invest in women and to support great female entrepreneurship. “Where there’s a will there is a way. Women need to support and encourage female entrepreneurship.”

For Danielle Fletcher (@Propellher), founder of PropellHer, it was a call to start using the ‘C Word’. “How many of us woke up this morning and said, ‘I have the confidence to make it happen today?”

Young Australian of the Year 2015 and deaf advocate @Drisanalg used her soapbox to promote Auslan (Australian sign language) as a human right for all deaf children to access. “Too many people see sign language as a last resort,” she said. “It is a beautiful language and needs to be recognized.”

The VP of Twitter Shailesh Rao (@Shaileshrao), wrapped up the event by declaring that “when women succeed, the world succeeds” and that “good decisions comes from getting different perspectives in the room.”