When Gloria Pan joined Turner Strategies in 2006, Suzanne Turner was a veteran women’s advocate with deep roots in the organized advocacy world. In her previous position as the communications director of a media futures think tank, Gloria knew that the founders of some of the largest and most vibrant online women’s networks proliferating over the Internet were self-identified feminists promoting women and families through new media, but doing so completely independently of organized women’s advocacy. Gloria and Suzanne immediately started musing about how powerful it would be if barriers between these communities could be removed – for these communities to get to know each other and join forces. A year later, they finally looked at each other and said, “Let’s just introduce our friends.”
Kim Gandy, Shireen Mitchell, Heather Holderidge, Liza Sabater, Katie Stanton, Julie Germany and Marcia Yerman joined Gloria and Suzanne in this idea of organizing a little get-together. They pooled their networks, started making phone calls, and Feminism2.0 (or Fem2.0) was born.
The Feminism2.0 Conference took place January 9, 2009, at the Betts Theater at George Washington University in Washington, DC. The event was convened by a founding group of online and real world women’s networks:
- American Association of University Women (AAUW)
- Culture Kitchen
- Feminist Majority
- National Council of Negro Women
- National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO)
- National Organization for Women (NOW)
- Vivir Latino
- Women in Media and News
- Women’s Media Center
Over 250 attendees attended the conference, and more participated via a projected Twitter stream set up behind the plenary presenters, which offered interactive and real-time comments during presentations and plenary sessions. On the day of the conference, the tag used for these chats and for conference news in general, #fem2 , became the second most popular tag on Twitter and has since grown into a more general tag for feminism in the progressive movement. Fem2.0 today is a vibrant online community concerned about all issues effecting women, families and civil society.
Fem2.0 goals are:
- To harness the power of women on the Internet to promote women’s issues.
- To create a forum – starting with the Fem2.0 website and continuing through the Fem2.0 conference – for women to discuss the issues that are of most concern to them today, and to encourage them to use the Internet to learn more, express their opinions about them and advocate for policies that benefit women and families.
- To create an opportunity for a “meeting of minds” across generations and media platforms.
- To unite women’s voices behind the issues that the vast majority of women support, such as education, healthcare, workplace fairness and economic security.
- To position women’s issues and their advocates for the administration and policy makers.
- To draw new audiences to women’s issues, especially those who are Internet-focused and can cross-pollinate to increase activism.
- To expand the audience of women engaged in online media activity and activism.