Sunday, January 25, 2009

The International Museum of Women - IMOW


In the spirit of discovering new online resources, I’d like to share the website of the International Museum of Women (IMOW).The mission of IMOW is, very simply put, "to value the lives of women around the world". This they do, by documenting and showcasing the lives of women all over the world. IMOW is unique among museums, because its exhibitions are available only online.

The latest exhibition is Women, Power and Politics, which chronicles untold stories of women recognising and using their power. It ran from March to December 2008, but the exhibition is permanently archived on the IMOW website, so you can still check out the art and poems, download podcasts, watch videos, and read stories of women doing great things in their various communities.

International Museum of Women

There are quite a number of resources to view about Nigeria, including an overview of women’s political participation, a write-up about women’s protest against exploitation by oil companies, a look at artist Chinwe Uwatse, who uses traditional Igbo art to celebrate Igbo women’s political activism and a profile of the women’s human rights organisation, BAOBAB.

There is a wealth of information on this site, but it’s not overwhelming for the viewer because you can browse by topics, like Biology, Appearance, Environment, Religion, Voting and Organising.

This is not a collection that invites passive observation, but one that encourages you to do explore, claim and celebrate your power to create positive change. For instance, the exhibition features a toolkit, which compiles resources that can help women engage with power more effectively. I was very excited to see this collection, with categories such as Learn to Lead, Speak Your Mind and Run for Office; I was especially happy about Empower Young Women and Start a Non-Profit Organisation ( Heeeey! I wish I had found this last one a year ago. ).

This is not just an exhibition where you sit back and absorb the information presented. If that wasn’t quite inspiring enough, there is a list of 100 actions that can be taken by women to exercise their power.

There’s obviously been a lot of thought and time put into this exhibition, so it’s not a resource that you will sweep through in one go. Rather, it will be a space that you re-visit from time to time. I certainly will and I’m sure I’ll refer to it in future posts.

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