Last weekend the Every Day Sexism Project, a British feminist initiative, started a Twitter trend with the hashtag, #WhenIWas.
The hashtag was created to show that women experience many forms of harassment from a young age.
Women started sharing stories under the hashtag on Twitter about times they’d experienced sexual violence or discrimination at a young age.
It was a powerful platform for women to band together and raise their voices, but it’s not the first of its kind.
Twitter has become a platform for women’s voices numerous times in recent years. Here are five other hashtags that have given power to women.
Emma Watson launched the #HeforShe campaign in a UN speech in 2014. The #HeforShe campaign asks men to join women in taking action against violence and discrimination against women and girls. The hashtag is about getting everyone to support the notion of gender equality. It highlights that gender equality is not just a women’s issue, but a human rights issue. The message? When all powerful voices are heard in unison, that is when things will change. #HeforShe creates a visible voice for gender equality from both men and women online.
Activists started this hashtag after news broke in the US that the House of Representatives had voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Lindy West, Amelia Bonow and Kimberly Morrison created #ShoutYourAbortion and asked people on Twitter to share their stories to remove the stigma around abortions. They wanted to create awareness around the fact that abortions should be legal and could be safe.
Elliot Rodger killed six people in California after stating he hated women and was angry about constant sexual rejection. After his story entered the news, women on the Twittersphere took to their keypads to voice stories of everyday sexism and misogyny. They reacted quickly after they heard Rodger’s message, which they believe spoke of sexual entitlement and pressed on the fact that women should not have control over their own sexual preferences. Women spoke out with #YesallWomen.
Australian feminist and columnist, Clementine Ford took to social media to ask men about the sexism she encounters at work. She asked men if they had to deal with the same things she did, as a woman. Ford began using #QuestionsforMen at the beginning of her tweets, and the trend caught on. Many women took to Twitter to put their ‘questions for men’ to the masses and shed light on sexism in the workplace and beyond.
While this hashtag trend ultimately became about supporting Muslim Australians after the Sydney Siege in 2014, it stemmed from a story about a Muslim woman. Rachael Jacobs shared a story on Facebook, the morning after the siege, about a woman she had reportedly seen quietly take off her headscarf while on the train during a morning commute. Jacobs explained that she ran after the woman and told her to put her headscarf back on before offering to ride with her if she felt unsafe. The woman hugged her and walked away alone, but the story inspired #illridewithyou to trend on Twitter.