Arab women empowerment after the new media

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Introduction

Despite the desolate representation painted in the media, concerning Arab women conditions there is credible evidence that suggests significant progress has been made over the past six decades regarding women involvement in social, economic, political, and cultural fields(Dubai School of Government, 2011). Social Media specifically in Arab countries is playing a significant role in transforming the roles of women and girls across the region. Arab women and youth are taking up active roles in the events happening in their countries through the use of social media (Mourtada & Salem, 2012).

The Arab Spring witnessed in the Arab world several years ago was a clear illustration of how social media can act as an empowering tool (Howard, et al, 2011). Research suggests that the popularity of social media throughout 2011 has not shown any signs of slowing down either on a worldwide level or within the Arab region (Mourtada & Salem, 2012). Globally, the most recent gender breakdown of social media usage for example Facebook reflects that of the real world demographics with the number of male and female users being roughly equal (Dubai School of Government, 2011). According to a study, Arab Social Media Report, social media is increasingly being viewed as a valuable tool for women empowerment in the Arab region(Dubai School of Government, 2011). For instance, social media has allowed women to take on a new form of leadership focusing on utilizing connections and networks. Moreover, women in the Arab region are not merely cyber activists; they have been documented to be active participants in organizing, taking part and even leading protests. This research aims at identifying the degree and level of participation of Arab women in social issues through social media. The current research focuses on how these women use Twitter to contribute to matters affecting their society.

Literature Review

Development of Social Media Use in the Arab Region

Over the past few decades, there has been important although gradual development in the Arab World. Nevertheless, it does not grab the headlines like the conflicts and the revolutions that have been witnessed, and it is hard to perceive this development without looking carefully(Udine, 2013). The development is the slow but continuing empowerment of Arab women. Think of the significant image of the uprisings in the Middle East or North Africa for instance, the similar concept that unites Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Libya. It has not been in itself the celebrations such as Hosni Mubarak’s fall and neither has it been the fact the Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid nor the battles in Tahrir Square in Cairo all that acted as a trigger for all the events that have unfolded(Dubai School of Government, 2011).

Instead, however, the defining image is that of a young woman or a young man with a Smartphone. She is either in the Medina in Tunisia with a BlackBerry taking a picture of a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office and sharing it on her multiple social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter (Salti, 2013). It may also be a young doctor in Egypt stopping to take an image of a civilian with head injuries, the effect of a missile by Mubarak’s supporters. All of these images have found their way to the internet through various Social Media sites(Salti, 2013).

The precise way in which communicate during these moments of historical crisis and or transformation in the society is quite remarkable (Dubai School of Government, 2011). Also, the medium that carries the message shapes and defines as well as the message itself. The instant nature of how Social Media communicates self-broadcast messages and ideas that are unlimited in publication and deadlines explain the speed at which revolutions and changes are spreading and have spread throughout regions case and point the Arab region(Scullion, 2013). Social media has therefore been growing as a tool that the women favour and are continually using to emancipate themselves from traditions of oppression and using it to gain a voice in matters political, social, and economic(Shalaby, 2013).

The state of Social Media use by Arab women

A reported study by the Dubai School of Government found out that the media is influential in advocating for women’s right and ending discrimination based on gender. The report acknowledged the importance of the media in providing information and the way it constitutes a significant part of our lives (Dubai School of Government, 2011). Khan (2011), who cites Dubai School of Government (2011) in his study, notes that the media could empower Arab women to greater heights. The Arab region has experienced both societal and political transformations, and according to the author, the media can accelerate women becoming the primary drivers of regional change (Khan, 2011).

Al-Malki (2012) argues that lately Arab women have become active in political and civic actions. He notes that majority of Arab women have played a crucial role in the rapid political changes that have swept the region. He further states that to highlight the roles played by these women, the media should focus on reporting on these women (Al-Malki, 2012). Sakr (2004) notes that there have been increases in usage of the social media across the Arab world. People in this region, women, in particular, are using the social media platforms for social networking and entertainment. Additionally, the social media has infiltrated almost every aspect of daily lives of people in the Arab world, and this has affected the way people interact socially or engage in civil society movements (Sakr, 2004).

Korany (2014) reports that the social media has taken root in the Arabian culture, and at the end of 2011, it has evolved to include political participation, civic engagement, and most importantly social change, which includes women empowerment. Arabian governments have started recognizing the potential of social media to develop a more transparent governance structure (Korany, 2014). However, some governments want to curtail the spread of the influence of the social media since its leaders believe it is causing security challenges. For instance, the Arabian governments are wary of terrorist groups that use the social media to recruit people and share their propaganda (Korany, 2014).

Although the press has played a significant role in empowering women, (Scullion, 2013) notes that very few Arab women use media platforms, especially the social media. For example, statistics indicate that women globally make up half of Facebook users, while women from the Arab world only account for a third of users in the region (Scullion, 2013). Scullion (2013) calls for more participation by Arabian women in Social Media since its role in women empowerment is tremendous.

Sinha (2013) focused his quantitative study on explaining the reason few Arabian women participate in online media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. His findings showed that 26% of Arabian women fail to use these platforms because of societal and cultural limitations. These restrictions include family and society barriers, and stereotypes placed on women. 16% indicated that they avoided such platforms because of privacy and security (Sinha, 2013). They argue that they have less trust in online security. 11% of women indicated they are not computer literate, 10% reported that they couldnot access ICT or access to the internet. 13% noted that they do not have confidence in the social media as a communication forum (Sinha, 2013). 9% of the women showed that they have lower levels of education than their male counterparts, and 12% noted that they are no enough content designed to serve Arab women’s needs (Sinha, 2013).

The Crucial role that Social Media Use Plays in Women Empowerment

Hall (2015) argues that the media of which Social Media is a part of is the third pillar of democracy.He claims that Social Media acts as the society’s mirror, and categorizes the media into three forms: print, social, and electronic. These three types, according to the author, can help women empower themselves by airing news, entertainment, and other important messages about the important roles played by women in the society. However, the author failed to discuss the role of media in empowering women of the Arab world; he just focused on women in the global scale (Hall, 2015).

The media creates awareness, and by doing this, it has aided in women empowerment. Kumar (2005) argues that the press is capable of reaching out to a much larger audience with the help of the internet, newspaper, and television. Focusing on the web, the author acknowledges the growth and popularity of the social media in Arab countries (Kumar, 2005). According to this author, Social media is showing no sign of slowing down in the world. Statistics provided in his study shows that Facebook has over a billion users of which nearly 100 million are from Arab countries. With this staggering numbers, apparently Social Media can aid in women empowerment in the Arab world (Kumar, 2005).

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Focusing on Internet Media, Kalyango (2014) notes that Social Media has played crucial roles in empowering women of the Arab world. The author gives the example of the Saudi Arabia’s Women2Drive campaign, a social media project for Saudi Arabian women to empower themselves politically, economically, and socially (Kalyango, 2014). Another social media project undertaken by the Arabian women is the Egypt’s HarassMap Initiative, a project intended by elite Egyptian women to empower other women from the rural areas. The author comments on the significant strides achieved by the two projects. The HarassMap was able to help raise awareness of sexual harassment of Egyptian women through an online mapping system (Kalyango, 2014). Similarly, Women2Drive empowered Saudi Arabian women after it advocated for women to be allowed to vote and stand in municipal elections, which was a success (Kalyango, 2014).

Gupta, (1999) notes that the media can help fight the stereotypes surrounding women in the Arab world. In particular, the author cites the role the media has played in influencing women to participate in social movements in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. These social movements are aimed at advocating for gender equality for women to cement their position as equal partners to men. For that matter, one Arabian woman, Twakkul Karman, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advocating for the rights of women by using the media (Al-Malki, 2012).

The Impact of Social media use on Arab Women Empowerment

Despite evident and documented cases of degradation, sanctioned ill-treatment including discrimination women empowerment has seen more than remarkable gains all thanks to social media(Beaumont, 2011). As a matter of fact, women empowerment has even attracted global recognition. For instance, the United States Secretary of state together with First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an event dubbed the International Women of Courage Awards. The event aimed to recognize and honor women who have played a role in empowering women (Beaumont, 2011). Among the women who received awards in this event was Samar Badawi, who was recognized for being the first Arabian woman to sue the Saudi Government for the right to choose her husband (Beaumont, 2011).

In 2011, the committee of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize decided to reward here women for their non-violent struggle for the safety and empowerment of women and for the full right of women to participate in peace building work. Among the laureates recognized was a Yemeni activist Twakkoi Karman (Udine, 2013). What is of essence is her comment in her acceptance speech. She affirmed that the solution to women issues could only be achieved in a free democratic society in which human energy is liberated(Udine, 2013).

The number of Arab women using social media rose sharply by 2011. Udine (2013) in his research is quick to note that over 30 million users were associated with Facebook and Twitter during this period too. He indicates that there is a strong belief among women in the Arab region that social media plays a significant role in enhancing their participation in economic social and political life. Social media he believes permits women to acquire self-expression which becomes a valuable tool that can promote change. He further notes that women in the Arab region have become so embedded in social media that they use it effortlessly in their campaigns(Udine, 2013).

Udine (2013) notes another woman who enthusiastically champions women’s rights in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria,  Yemen and Bahrain and draws a page from her exemplified success. The woman, Haidar, after defending women rights strives to keep in check the progress that she has made to prevent the reincarnation of the status quo that existed where women were oppressed and locked out of the various social, political and economic sectors of the society. This she achieves through her Social Media slogan dubbed:

“Together for free, independent and fearless women in the Arab world (Udine, 2013).”

Ayish ( 2010)  in her research explores the role played by online blogs in the Arab region in serving Arab women construct and articulate their grievances in the society. Blogging is a form of social media communication that is closely similar to other social media platforms such as Facebook in its ability to disseminate information(Ayish, 2010).

The study found that Weblogs have been used in abundance by women mainly to put forward their personal opinions regarding various matters in the society such as social, political and even personal issues in addition to the same blogs being used to tackle matters of religion culture nad women topics. In her study Ayisha (2010) finds that the use of blogs by women has helped present women in the Arab world as thinkers and analysts who can engage in the society and discuss issues related to their surroundings. Through the engagement with different topics and writing about these issues, discussing them, analyzing their causes and consequences n the society these women can show their independence of thought of matters in the society, gender equality as well as competence(Ayish, 2010).

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The study also established out that the use of Blogs presents a new way in the discussion of the various matters that affect women in the society. Compared to previous ways in which issues of oppression were handled behind closed doors ad in hush voices the use of these technological tools has paved the way for women in the Arab region to present their ideas, opinions, and grievances. This has made them stand firm in their positions as well as making their issues be discussed in a more realistic way since they are backed with real life examples.

Ayisha (2010) not only notes the impact of Social Media use regarding presenting a platform for the women to air their grievances but also as a platform where they can attract feedback. This feedback she notes is imperative to the women in the Arab region since it helps these women find new perspectives for their ideas as well as acknowledging the role of the Arab women as writers, and independent thinkers. The discussion of social issues by these women helped to make the women feel like a part of the society. Through the use of such modern forms of communication Ayisha (2010) notes that the women in the Arab region can express their identity in a contemporary context that goes beyond seeking their fundamental rights  to more important matters such insisting women freedom to practice their lives according to what they see fit as long as they are provided with their basic rights such as education and employment.  The study concludes that blogging has become one of the tools for self-expression for Arab Women to make their voices heard in the society(Ayish, 2010).

Another article by  El- Sayed (2015)explores the integral role that Social Media has played in affecting the social change that is sweeping the Arab region particularly about the changing roles of the women. The article notes that since the 1970s  Emirates Infrastructure has been revolutionized due to the influence of institutional affiliations, electronic communication coupled with transnational travel networks. Social Media is increasing in popularity, and this caught the eye of various policy makers who have debated its influence over the Arab community as a whole(El-Sayed, 2015). True to their initial sentiments over the influence of Social Media on the Arab community women specifically have acquired responsibilities equal to those of women. The study draws on a recent survey carried out in the UAE, Social Media in the Arab World: the effect on Youth, women and Social Change, to support its conclusion that Social Media use is indeed a crucial instrument for women’s empowerment. The majority of partakers in the study agreed that Social Media has the unique capacity to be an empowering and connecting tool for women regarding social, economic as well as legal arenas(El-Sayed, 2015). The Dubai School of Government highlights the occurrence of continuous growth of social media popularity and adoption in the course of 2012 beyond the heights of the Arab spring(Dubai School of Government, 2011). This paints a clear picture of the emergence of a social media movement wave that is sweeping the Emirates region and bringing with it change in the Arab region the use of Social Media has shifted from it being used as a social communication platform to an instrument of political change. The study by El-Sayed (2015) also notes that Social Media has been very instrumental in the numerous uprisings that have taken place in the Arab region specifically in Tunisia and Egypt.

Another study addresses the question of how women participated in the popular uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt were able to overcome the barriers that exist to curtail women participation in matters politics in addition to how these Arab women have made significant strides in politics(Shalaby, 2013). The study based its question on the widespread media coverage of women who played a significant role in the Arab uprisings because the protests led to political transitions while societies entered into a state of flux with the future of women political empowerment becoming uncertain(Shalaby, 2013).

The study specifically explores the role that social media had in explaining the uneven gains of women in social, economic and cultural facets of the society. The study identifies the crucial role that social media played in increasing women’s political participation to explain the prominence of women in the Arab spring. For example, an Egyptian woman activist states that what led to the uprisings was:

“..The strength of human links … these communications were speeded by Facebook … The human connection is essential, civil society is important, but social media was the tool, the messenger when people finally found one another(Shalaby, 2013).”

Framework: The technofeminism theory

Starting the 1980s, feminists started to explore the gendered nature of technology. These feminists realized that there exists a relationship between women and technology (Lorber, 1997). The question on the lips of many feminists at the time was to examine how technology is developed and used by women. This led to several approaches being developed to explain the influence of technology on the lives of women. Sadie Plant (1998) is an example of a cyberfeminist who argued that digital technologies have helped to blur the boundaries between human beings and machines, and between men and women. These technologies allow users to choose their disguises and identities online. Almost similar arguments were advanced by Donna Haraway (1985) who argued that with changes in technology through aspects such as genetic engineering and virtual reality, the traditional notions of gender identity are challenged.

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The concept of technofeminism stems from the ideas linking technology and gender. This concept is based on the idea that technological innovations are influenced by the social circumstances in which they take place (Wajcman, 2009). Technology is a source as well as consequences of gender relations (Wajcman, 2004). Technology has the ability to change the nature as well as the meaning of tasks, thereby introducing novel practices (Haddon, 2004). The theory of technofeminism can thus be used to explain how technology is employed by women and how it influences their participation in national dialogue. For many years, women have generally occupied subordinate positions in the society (Gundy &Kappeler, 2014). This study seeks to investigate the position of Arab women, about Arab men, in raising and contributing to social, economic, and political issues. The technofeminist theory suggests that women may use technology to contribute to issues affecting their lives and their societies.   The study investigates this in the context of the social media platform- Twitter.

Literature suggests increased participation of women on issues, during the new media era. In the Arab world, these women have been taking up active roles on matters affecting the society (Hamid, 2012). This would suggest gender equality or a tendency towards equality in social media engagement, contrary to the provisions of the critical race feminist theory. The study will investigate the real position of Arab women’s participation in the new media era, about men, using the following research questions.

  • How do social media platforms empower Arab women to contribute to issues affecting their societies?
  • In what ways do Arab women use Twitter to communicate with the world and contribute to national dialogue?

Methodology

Background

Social media is a platform that has been around for many years. Facebook and Twitter are among the leading platforms with many users. For instance, Facebook currently has more than 1.6 billion users (Facebook, 2017); while Twitter has more than half a billion tweets sent each day (Twitter, 2017). These figures indicate that social media is a powerful and rich source of information and data. The terms social media research is thus used to define any form of research that uses data from social media. There generally two approaches that can be used when using social media as a data source. First, social media may be used as a research tool where tools such as surveys can be shared on social media platforms to gather data (Edwards et al., 2013). In the second approach, social media may be used as a research platform for collecting content and activity of the social media. In the current research, the second approach will be employed where information will be gathered from these sites. Specifically, the current research will use Twitter as the social media platform for the research. The data available on Twitter will provide information on aspects such as frequencies, profile information, textual content and online interactions (Sloan et al., 2015). Mainly, this research will be involved in the textual analysis.

Use in study

As illustrated in the literature review, Arab women are heavy users of social media. The ease with which information can be shared through these platforms has made it possible for these women to employ social media as a powerful platform for airing their views on various issues affecting their countries. In the present research, Twitter is used to gather information about the views of Arab women in the Syrian refugee crisis. Although this crisis has been around for a while now, the present research will mainly look at the information shared through the platform over the last six months.

Data Collection Method

Collecting data on social media can be a challenging task due to the large volume of data shared on these platforms. In the present study, the data was collected by reviewing the tweets by Arab women on the Syrian refugee crisis. Using the #Syrian refugee crisis (hashtag), it was possible to obtain all the latest tweets on this topic. The next step involved looking at the user profiles of those who had posted to determine the gender and nationality. The aim was to narrow down to tweets authored by Arab women on the refugee crisis. These tweets were limited to those generated within the last six months. Even with this limitation, it was found that the volume of these tweets was significantly high, and this made it impossible for analyze all the tweets.

To protect the identities of the users, this report will not include any revealing information about their identities. In social media research, and any other type for that matter, the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of the subjects should at all times be protected. One of the important aspects to consider is the nature of personal data collected. In our current research, personal data will not be shared.

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Descriptions of Texts/Data

The textual data obtained during the research is summarized below. The initial tweet and the major themes are highlighted in this summary. Due to the large volumes of tweets that can be generated through a single hash tag, it was necessary to summarize the main tweets that capture the main themes.

TWEET DATE ORIGINAL TWEET MAIN THEME
Feb 17, 2017 Pretty cool work from @TeenVogue: I’m 16 Years Old, and I’m a #SyrianRefugee Supporting efforts to highlight the plight of refugees in Syria
Feb 14, 2017 #SyrianRefugee family welcomes baby boy — named after #JustinTrudeau The zeal and determination of refugees in Syria

 

Feb 1, 2017 Am I a terrorist? In reply to a tweet by President Trump, this tweet by a young Syrian refugee attempts to show the human side of these refugees

The tweets by Arab women on the Syrian refugee crisis indicate that women have used social media as a platform to alert the world of the dangers these refugees are facing.  Through social media, the women have got a platform to engage with key leaders in the world, notably U.S. President Donald Trump. The texts/tweets reveal that the events on the ground affecting these refugees have been a source of inspiration for these women. The tweets generated by Arab women on this issue have been in response to the events on the ground, especially in Aleppo. The trends also indicate that Arab women have been at the forefront in offering support to organizations and individuals helping refugees or working to end the refugee crisis in Syria. To this end, most tweets by Arab women have focused on offering encouragement to those making attempts to address the issue. It is also worth noting that some of the tweets have been generated by Arab women victims of the crisis. For this reason, Twitter has been used a tool to directly communicate with the world about their feelings and sufferings about the crisis. This attempt has also been useful in urging world leaders not to turn their backs on the crisis but rather to look for ways of helping those at the centre of it. Finally, the tweets further offer support for the refugees, often showing their zeal and will to survive. Arab women have used Twitter to show the world that although the circumstances might be very difficult, the refugees are finding a reason to smile.

The major challenge encountered during the data collection was that most of the tweets were done in the Arabic language. For the purpose of the current research, it was necessary to present the information in English, and this made it difficult to use tweets authored in a different language. This in turn reduced the number of tweets obtained for the analysis in the paper. Also, it was difficult to ascertain the true nationality of some of the authors, and this might have caused some legitimate tweets to be excluded.

Findings/Analysis

The findings of the study above can be understood through the lenses of feminist ideas as well as perspectives. Broadly, feminism is based on some theories, and each of these theories helps to define different aspects of male/female relations. Each of these theories is aimed at enhancing the status of women in the society. For the current case, these findings will be analyzed based on the technofeminism theory which focuses on the relationships between gender and technological changes. This theory, as advanced by Judy Wajcman (2009), has its roots in the social constructivist framework.   The main idea behind this theory is that technology and gender relations are mutually shaped.

The findings of the study show that technology, and specifically social media, has given women a voice- a platform that allows them to directly communicate with the world. In the Arab world, there are many social, economic and political issues affecting the society. Women, like men, are affected by these issues. The Syrian refugee crisis is one of these social issues that have had a major impact on the lives of Arab women. Through technology, women find an equal voice, just like men, to highlight their plight and contribute to the events in their societies. The technofeminism theory is based on the idea that gender relations are realized in technology.

The technofeminism theory is also based on the concept that technology has the ability to change roles and tasks. Through technology, the roles of men and women in the society are changed, and this makes it possible for women to engage in activities that were traditionally considered taboo (Ganito & Ferreira, 2016). The findings of the study reveal a similar trend. Arab women are using the power of social media to play different roles in the society- informers, advocates, critics and journalists- just to name a few. The power provided by Twitter is such that women are in a position to report on the Syrian refugee crisis in various capacities. For instance, some of the tweets mainly focused on informing the world about the events in Syria. To this extent, the women act as informers or journalists.  In other tweets, these women have criticized existing leadership within and outside of Syria regarding the refugee crisis. This now gives the women the power to act as political analysts. The power of social media has thus been influential in giving women in Arabic countries new powers and new roles through which they can communicate and engage with different groups in the world. The technofeminism theory suggests that the previously held traditions and beliefs about women tasks are done away with by technological changes. The power of social media as new technology has successfully transformed the role of women from mere observers to active contributors to various social issues in the society. Furthermore, the relationships between men and women as well as relationships between women and those in power have greatly changed through social media.

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Technology has enabled Arab women to overcome barriers associated with age. Technofeminism theory suggests that through technology, women are empowered in many ways to accomplish tasks and activities in ways that help them overcome traditional barriers (Wajcman, 2009). In the current research, it has been revealed that through Twitter, the age barrier is eliminated, giving Arab women the chance to engage in discussions and dialogue on various issues affecting their society. In one of the tweets in reply to President Trump, a young Arab woman, aged seven, was able to go beyond the age barrier to directly communicate with one of the most powerful leaders on earth. For Arab women, age is no longer a limiting factor in determining how and where women engage in national dialogue. The attention of the world to the Syrian refugee crisis has been heightened due to the tweets authored by young Arab women. Similarly, the technofeminism theory also suggests that through technology, women can navigate geographical barriers that limit their ability to actively get involved in societal issues (Wajcman, 2009). The research has shown that women from different countries in the Arab world can converge online and share ideas and air their opinions about issues affecting society. Through social media, Arab women in countries such as England and the United States can directly contribute to issues affecting their countries in real time. The Syrian refugee crisis is a societal problem that has captured the attention of the world in the recent times, and this can be partly attributed to the breaking of geographical boundaries due to the use of social media. The findings of this study reveal that social media is a tool that brings women from all the Arab countries an opportunity to come together and look at issues affecting the region.

Finally, the results of the study reveal that through women, minority groups in the Arab world have found a voice. The victims of the refugee crisis, especially children, have very limited means of communicating their plight to the world. The women in the Arab world are taking advantage of the tools of social media to share images and texts relating to the issue, and in the process, give the victims a chance to communicate. Social media has thus enabled Arab women to give a voice to the voiceless and hope for the hopeless. The women can put themselves at the heart of the disaster and communicate to the world through the eyes of the victims. The world is not just informed of the Syrian refugee crisis but is made to understand the pains and sufferings of the refugees. The technofeminism theory suggests that technology can introduce novel practices. In the current case, it has been shown that women are taken up such novel practices and acting on behalf of victims in sharing their pains. The ability of social media to link these women to the outside world in an instant has meant that they are now taking up unique roles in the society.

Based on the tweets analyzed, the graph below summarizes the level of participation of Arab women based on their volumes of tweets.

Arab women participation on Syrian refugee crisis on Twitter

Discussion

For many years, Arab women have been marginalized and neglected (Bona, 2013).The present research aimed at evaluating the degree to which social media has helped Arab women to contribute to matters affecting their countries. From the results, it is evident that social media is more than a social platform- it is a powerful tool that gives a voice to the voiceless. Arab women are now in a position to engage with their male counterparts through this platform. In the present study, the focus has been on Twitter and how it has been used by Arab women. These women can share their ideas as well as learn from others.

In the social media sphere, Arab women are taking up different roles. They are not simply sharing their views and ideas. They are taking up unique roles as they report on the various issues affecting them. They play the roles such as encouraging, informing, criticizing and motivating others. More importantly, social media allows these women to report these issues from the eyes of the victims. The world is now in a better position to understand more about the Syrian refugee crisis courtesy of the information delivered by these women. Although the refugees may not be heard directly, social media allows Arab women to give these victims a voice.

Although the research reveals that Arab women are active on special media, it is evident that the number of these women is relatively low compared to their male counterparts. The benefits provided by social media in giving women a voice demand that more Arab women should embrace this platform. The opportunity provided by social media is enormous and should not be ignored. Gender-related issues can be addressed through modern technologies, especially in giving a voice to the women. Furthermore, social issues affecting the society today can be documented and shared through these sites.

Conclusion

The use of internet has had a major impact on the lives of many around the world. In the context of the current research, the internet has played a major role in empowering Arab women, giving them a platform to contribute to issues affecting their societies. The technofeminism theory used here suggests that through technology, women are given a voice, and their roles are redefined. The present research has focused on how Twitter has been used by Arab women to contribute to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. The research has revealed that through Twitter, these women have gained a platform to inform the world of the crisis and air the opinions of the same. Through Twitter, Arab women can take up different roles as they talk about this crisis. To this extent, it can be seen that social media is not just a communication platform; it is a channel that transforms the manner in which Arab women interact with the world. Despite the heavy penetration and use of internet in the Arab world, it is clear that the participation of Arab women in social media is fairly limited compared to the men. It is important that to increase Arab women participation in social issues, they need to be enabled and encouraged to use social media outlets as communication channels.

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