Yesterday was International Women's Day. To mark the occasion, the Toronto Star's Heather Malilck took to her regular column to decry the state of women's rights. Specifically, she references the recent controversy involving bombastic conservative personality Rush Limbaugh:
"American women are fighting a rearguard action for something as basic as birth control to be included in health-care plans. They are called “sluts” for doing so."
Mallick went on to state that women's rights across the globe are eroding, not expanding. But the latest controversy from Limbaugh is not the best example to prove her point. In fact, the online reaction to Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke derogatory names has been swift, intense and entirely negative:
"At latest count, [twelve] advertisers have pulled the plug on Limbaugh. Each was effectively targeted on Facebook and Twitter by an angry and vocal storm of thousands of people calling for direct action. The campaign was almost instantaneous, coordinated by no individual or organization, and entirely free of cost"
This is the second large-scale reaction driven by social media regarding an issue of women's rights. There was a wide, negative protest online to the decision (later reversed) by the Susan G Komen foundation to remove funding for Planned Parenthood.
Of course, there is still work to be done to further women's rights in the world. But these two examples highlight the simple fact that women of all backgrounds are engaged, organized and willing to speak out via their social networks on issues they disagree with.