Women heard: International Women’s Day most talked about on Facebook
Interest in International Women’s Day grows on social networks
In a year when women broke the silence about the extent of the sexual harassment they have experienced and its impact on their personal and professional lives, it was perhaps not surprising that Facebook first reported International Women’s Day was the most talked about topic on the social networking site. Women’s rights were a central part of the public discourse. In countries like the United States, IWD conversations topped those about the Super Bowl, and in Australia IWD conversations beat many other highly popular topics.
“The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” said Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal.
“The roots of Time’s annual franchise – singling out the person or persons who most influenced the events of the year – lie in the so-called great man theory of history, a phrasing that sounds particularly anachronistic at this moment. But the idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year. For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, The Silence Breakers are the Person of the Year.”
Pro-active steps taken by women to “go public” over harassment on Facebook, Twitter and other social media and stake their rightful place in the workforce with greater confidence illustrates the important role International Women’s Day can play as a galvanization point for action.
International Women’s Day campaign continues well beyond one day
The annual observation for career women shows no sign of declining in importance. The Facebook report underscores the significant role International Women’s Day has played since it began, inspired in part by the activities of vote-seeking suffragettes in Britain at the turn of the last century.
The annual International Women’s Day campaign now provides a year-long point of reference and direction for women and groups, offering a framework for galvanising and uniting global activity aimed at accelerating gender parity.
Social media networks allow communities to connect in ways that were impossible historically. The Women’s Day hashtags go viral each year and the annual campaign theme continues in popularity throughout the year.
Gender-based activism growing globally
After the revelations about inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment, the #MeToo social media hashtag offered a global platform for women and men to speak up about their experiences. So much so, that in fact online dictionary Merriam-Webster has dubbed “feminism” its word of the year, meaning it is the most-searched word on its website. Lookups for the definition of feminism increased by 70 percent.
Back in 2017, the #BeBoldForChange campaign theme certainly saw gender activism continue well beyond International Women’s Day. The campaign was actively adopted by the U.S. Women’s National Hockey League Team. Each member of the team held up the messages with the hashtag #BeBoldForChange on Twitter and Instagram posts as they announced they would boycott the world championship unless an agreement was reached to improve wage and other support from USA Hockey.