These Women are Using Social Media for Social Change

This week in 1913 the British House of Commons rejected women's right to vote. As a Brit (and a woman) myself, this got me thinking about the difference women can make. I can’t believe it took until 1928 for those of us over 21 to be allowed to vote, but we succeeded because women continued to push for social change. This kind of activism translates to today in the form of social media. First Lady Michelle Obama recently tweeted a photograph showing her support for #bringbackourgirls - the global campaign to bring home the missing Nigerian girls, who were kidnapped from their school on April 15. Other women too are using social media to invoke a change.

Sheryl Sandberg

The COO of Facebook has a blog based on her workplace-feminist New York Times Best Seller “Lean In” In recent months, Facebook stock has been up by 134% and is now worth $57, and Lean In has sold more than 1.6 million copies to date. And with more than 132K twitter followers, no wonder she’s deemed one of the most powerful women in business and called “superhuman” by Mr Zuckerberg himself. This made her recent support of the “Ban Bossy” Campaign extremely important.

Since its creation last March, the Ban Bossy campaign has racked up 1 million visits on its site and has the likes of Victoria Beckman and Beyoncé backing it. The campaign is urging people to stop calling women "bossy" because of the harmful effect this term has on girls. (It can dissuade young women from pursuing leadership roles.) So far over 100,000 people have signed a pledge to stop saying the word. Sheryl and her team have inspired a colossal debate on social media with enthusiasm and criticism at a national level. This is her world, and she has the capability to permeate social media at an enormous pace.

Sylvia Hopkins

Sylvia is VP of Marketing at Make-A-Wish International, a non-profit with a mission to “grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.” Sylvia plays a pivotal role in driving the organization forward in a positive direction. To date, the foundation has 13.K followers on Twitter, 51K likes on Facebook and grants wishes in over 40 countries outside of the U.S. They have collectively granted more than 300,000 wishes worldwide since 1980 and use social media to its maximum to achieve heart-warming results. The strategy is effective and simple - connect with them to hear more unique stories, see their amazing wish images, and find opportunities to help and engage with them. The charity posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram and the website has an active news and blog section that offers downloadable banners & badges for you to use on your website to show your support.

So – thank goodness for Emmeline Pankhurst and every other suffragette across the world who fought for the right to vote. Women are now leaders, entrepreneurs and activists; some of which are in extremely influential positions. As Hilary Rodham Clinton said, “Women are the world’s most underused resource.”

Do you agree? Who else would you add to this list as women impacting social change?

Jo