A former professor of mine, a cultural critic and a lecturer on the history of photography, loves to tell a story about an experience she had walking home one day with her stepson. It was a humid day in August in New York City and she and her stepson saw an older neighbor struggling with a heavy bag of groceries. My professor and her stepson took the groceries and helped the neighbor up the stairs of her building and made sure she recovered from the heat. As they were leaving the little boy turned to his mother and said, “Is this going to be on the news tonight?”  “No,” the professor replied. Her stepson smiled and said, “I suppose if we’d hit her and stole her groceries it would be.”

In the past week we have talked a lot about how we can work together to eliminate gender stereotypes. Employing new media can be an important way to continue this work after we leave CSW and return to our communities. How can we make sure that good, decent work is portrayed in the media? How can we use social networking technologies to change attitudes around caregiving thereby helping to eliminate its stigma?

Maybe you are wondering why it is that I prefaced these questions with a story from a professor of the history of photography. The images with which we surround ourselves inform our sense of selves and virtually every social movement of the twentieth century had a galvanizing image central to their cause. For the American Civil Rights Movement it was the publication of photographs of Emmett Till in Jet Magazine. For the Disarmament Movement it was images of the aftermath of Hiroshima.  For the modern environmental movement it was images of Earth taken from space, when we were first able to see ourselves all in one place. And so, my desire to engage with all of you about using new media to document and creatively visualize our triumphs as well as our struggles comes from my understanding that artists, writers, journalists, and bloggers have an important role to play in the elimination of gender stereotypes.  In many of our advocacy meetings and at our dinners we have talked with each other about how we can continue our work here at CSW after we leave. I hope that we can prioritize employing creative means of engaging with internet technologies to help us continue to advocate for the rights of women and girls.