UN Women’s English-language Twitter account @UN_Women has celebrated its 100,000th follower, just fifteen months after UN Women became operational. The magic number was hit on 31 March 2012 by Ruth Richards (@MsRuthR), a law student from the United Kingdom. “I follow because you are all doing an amazing job and I want to help in any way I can, even if it’s by retweeting,” she tweeted.
UN Women actively engages social media audiences, throughout the year and around specific mini-campaigns, calls for Actions, and Twitter chats. Its 7,850 tweets have so far triggered 75,000 retweets and 30,000 mentions since the account was established, showing a promising global reach among Internet users.
To celebrate its Twitter audience, UN Women asked 100,000 followers why they follow the organization, and what content they would like to see tweeted going forward. Congratulatory and encouraging responses came in from around the world. Most referred to @UN_Women as a global source of information on gender equality and the issues that stem from it.
“Gender violence must be stopped & gender inequality is behind it. #followUNWomen for best info on how to help women & girls!”, tweeted Mara Tekach (@Mara_Mexico) from Mexico, a Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy. Many others from all walks of life, echoed similar sentiments. Sarah L. Cheverton (@CheverSar) a British freelance writer tweeted, “I follow you because you’re a fantastic source of information on the global women’s rights and gender justice movements.” Jenny Mathers(@jgmaber), a senior lecturer in International Politics at a Welsh university, added that the account had been a great resource for students taking her course on gender, conflict and security.
Many followers of @UN_Women debate gender related issues through their tweets, and check in to learn progress on women’s rights worldwide. Others comment on the positive messages and stories of change carried by the account. This includes its reporting on UN Women’s work worldwide, whether with Zimbabwe’s first fishing rig operators, or on projects to provide Cambodian survivors of acid-burn violence with shelter and livelihood skills. As Natsuko Nakamura (@lunapetit) from Nagoya in Japan, wrote: “Thanks to @UN_Women, I can see what’s going on around the world about gender issues. I feel I’m not alone.”
These responses have been consolidated via storify. Summaries of #AskUNWomen Twitter chats are also available on Women, Peace & Security, 25 October 2011; Women & Climate Change, 2 December 2011; and Empowerment of Rural Women, 8 March 2012