We’re Loud & We’re Proud

Celebrating women’s empowerment, and voicing protest – the growing power of video messaging

When women get together in many countries around the world, they sing songs of praise and protest. Indeed, song has bound together movements for generations – so why not the women’s movement? We made note of that a few years back, in one of our most popular and forwarded blogposts, “Womenabling Music: uniting cultures and empowering women through song,” and we have also shared historical videos of importance and interest to women’s economic empowerment advocates (such as those highlighted in our 1st quarter e-newsletter from 2011).

This year during Women’s History Month, we again turn our focus on song. First off, we wanted to make sure you get a chance to tap your toes to One Woman, which comes to us from  UN Women; proceeds from song downloads will go to their good cause.

Secondly, there was a recent flashmob social media campaign to mark V Day – celebrated primarily as Valentine’s Day, but more recently used to call attention to the appalling fact that one out of three women (fully one billion women) will be the victims of violence during their lifetime. Under the One Billion Rising moniker (I love their tagline: 1 billion women violated is an atrocity; 1 billion women dancing is a revolution), thousands of local groups got together to perform – flashmob style in some cases – to the song “Break the Chain,” written to highlight the issue. Here’s one flashmob example of the performance of the song, from India:

And here’s the video that’s garnered the highest number of views on YouTube (over 172,000), from San Francisco:

Check out others at onebillionrising.org/livestream. And learn more about the song and the choreography HERE. These are just a few examples of the growing power of social media to deploy aural advocacy. Sing out, sisters!

Womenabling Music: uniting cultures and empowering women through song

Music frequently serves as a bridge linking different cultures, and is often a medium for political expression, protest, and social commentary. Those of us of a certain age can remember singing along to “all we are saying, is give peace a chance.” And we womenablers also love to shout out such women’s empowerment refrains as “I am woman, hear me roar” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me” (both of which date your humble author as a certified Baby Boomer).

John Lennon tribute in Central Park NY

John Lennon tribute in Central Park NY

Womenable recently came across a very interesting National Public Radio story about a “Playing for Change” video project, which splices together a variety of musicians around the world singing and playing the Ben E. King song “Stand By Me.” While it features only a few women, it is nonetheless worth a look.

In addition, and to make sure we balance this video with some women-powered content, here are some interesting “you go, girl” songs and music-related items from around the world. Peace out, sisters:

  • Blessing events with song: Your author participated in several workshops in South Africa back in 2005 and 2006 during the course of writing a strategic framework for women’s enterprise in that country. At every event, women would break out into song. I learned that “malibongwe” (when sung by women) means, essentially, “you go, girl.” This article notes that women broke into song recently in Tiruchi, India as a new Women’s Empowerment Resource Centre was opened. What better way to celebrate?
  • Soowanikwe: The University of Michigan (M Go Blue!) recently reported in its alumni newsletter about a project to document, preserve and teach the native Ojibwe language, Anishinaabemowin. As a part of that effort, they have recorded and posted a song entitled “Soowanikwe (The Power of Women).” Click here to listen.
  • Music competition in Ghana: The Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy in Ghana recently announced a songwriting competition for women’s empowerment songs. Check out the information in this blog post.
  • Chick power lists from the blogosphere: There are a number of blog posts and top ten lists referring to affirming “you go, girl” focused songs. Here are a few:
  • Empowerment videos: The Women’s News Network’s Empowering Women video links

And here are some of Womenable’s favorite “empowered women” songs:

  • Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
  • You Can Have Everything You Need But Me – Nanci Griffith
  • With Luck in My Eyes – kd lang
  • RESPECT – Aretha Franklin (of course!!)