WOWEM: History of vision & resilience

March 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Projects

The Women’s Open World Empowerment Movement (WOWEM)

Open Source, gender equity, civil society engagement

Open Source, gender equity, civil society engagement


The WOWEM Project started in 2004 as an initiative to explore how women performed in the IT World and to encourage them to share stories of how they cope in the work atmosphere. It was a collaboration between Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities (FBSC), Lady Murrugarra of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia  and Stacy Gildenston, formerly of Linux Professional Institute, now residing in Australia. The project focussed on encouraging women to share stories of struggle, resilience and wisdom.  To achieve this, we envisioned the following:

WSA graphic  Provide education to women who organize local community project

WSA graphic  Assist in setting up sustainable women-focused small businesses utilizing Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) as a tool

WSA graphic Promote market-ready products for international sales

WSA graphic  Utilizing profits for local enterprises led by the women including microloans by and from the women who earn them

WSA graphicEducation: topics to include organic farming, permaculture, health & wellness, making, arts.

WSA graphicDevelopment of online portfolios

WSA graphicUsing profits for both personal and community sustainable development

WSA graphicResearch of gender and F/OSS development around the world

WSA graphicEvaluating successes and failures

2004 Vision

A future ‘Marketplace’ to assist women in making dreams come true, by :
1.  Creating a Free and Open Source site to promote women who are making products wearing/using/displaying their work and telling their stories;

2.  Running beta test with products from Indonesia, Mexico, Palestine, Niger, Jamaica, and Peru; and

3.  Supporting a social enterprise to enhance the activities of the WOWEM Project and women around the world.

2005 – 2014

Because the project was embraced by civil society with such enthusiasm, the project won the UN World Summit Information Society (WSIS) Award digital content and creativity.
Following this tremendous acclamation, the site and domain name was hijacked for more than 7 years.  A blow to enhancing the participation and development of gender equity solutions from a local to global level.  It took much time to realign and re-establish the presence we achieved as the digital environment advanced.

2015 Onward: WOWEM, A Story of Resilience

After many attempts to revive the WOWEM Project, Stacy, Lady and Joan, the three original Founders of WOWEM, have come together to relaunch and engage women in digital world. Recognizing the dedication to support open source and gender equity with the shared vision to educate and collaborate, they have agreed to continue the contribution to the global success of WOWEM in the digital space once again.  As we move forward, the primary goal is to focus on learning by offering workshops that encourages designing and making, capturing the ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) spirit to advance the technical skills in the digital environment.

We look forward to our continued collaboration and success in the coming years


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