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Feminism Online and Women's Health Online and Off

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On February 2, approximately 300 women gathered for the first Fem 2.0 conference in Washington D.C.

A pro bono project of Turner Strategies, the event was convened by fourteen women's entities ranging from the stalwarts, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and National Organization of Women (NOW), to the cutting edge voices of Feministe and culturekitchen. The goal was to examine the explosion of women on the Internet, and the nexus between new media and women's advocacy.

There was a full line of presentations and plenaries, as well as eleven breakout sessions. It was tough choosing between such offerings as "At the Cross Roads: Organizing the Next Generation of Feminists Online and Off" and "Broadening Our Reach: Feminism and Working Women." The end objective was to open up conversations, and to examine how powerful alliances between women's advocacy groups (both traditional and non-traditional) and new media could be forged.

There was plenty to learn. I appreciated the insights from Anne Stone, Senior Vice President at the National Women's History Museum, who shared that only 5 per cent of all monuments in Washington D.C. were of women, and that actress Hedy Lamarr had co-developed the technology which was a precursor to wireless communications (who knew?).

Shireen Mitchell, the Vice Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, moderated "Feminism on the Move - Where We Were and Where Are We Now?" Several different threads of conversation emerged. One evidenced the relief that the Bush Era was over.

"We've been locked out of the White House for eight years," said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority.

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