Julie Bentley, CEO of Girlguiding
Amongst all the debate on Brexit, one overly simple take-away is that everyone wants to have their say. We’ve seen clear affirmation that making our voices heard is important to us Brits.
As CEO of Girlguiding, I’ve heard repeatedly that girls and young women don’t feel their voices are heard enough on the decisions that affect their lives. We know young people as a group voted differently to older in the referendum and the whys and whereforalls merit more debate – Brexit after all affects their futures more than anyone’s. But what I want to say isn’t about the politics of Brexit but the message it sends about voice.
Twitter-phobe to fanatic
I’ve blogged here before about how I started my Twitter journey – I’ve gone from Twitter phobe to Twitter with breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I continue to use it so I’m accessible and transparent as a leader and to share important messages with our young members, volunteers, partners and sector colleagues (and sometimes sharing totally random and meaningless musings).
Social media is still used to silence people
As empowering as it can be, social media is also used as powerful way to attempt to silence certain people and groups often in the most unacceptable of ways – women, whilst not exclusively, are often targeted explicitly.
It’s not good enough. Everyone should feel able to engage and contribute their views, as long as it’s within a context of respectful challenge and constructive debate.
Social media enables debate
We are living in uncertain and changing times, and social media is a space that allows us all to hear the range of different perspective on key issues that are affecting our lives.
Being part of discussion through social media allows us to focus on the things that really matter to us.
For me, high up on my list of interests are young people, social justice issues and the charity sector. I am especially interested in how the voluntary sector gets the voices of their beneficiaries heard in discussion. Social media is a simple and cost effective means to doing that.
It is also a great way to share special and inspiring moments. The moving speech from @alex_brooker in his Paralympics coverage certainly brought a lump to my throat.
Social media can be such a powerful way to bring people together around shared interests and goals.
As a charity CEOs, let’s harness that potential to further awareness of and support for the causes we feel so passionate about.
If you aren’t on twitter yet, come join us and say hi – I’m @juliebentley.