Virtual Museum Exhibit Establishes International Impact Utilizing Social Networking Platforms


"Young people are the drivers of economic development. Foregoing this potential is an economic waste and can undermine social stability. The impact of the crisis has not been gender neutral, with disproportionate burden placed on women."    - Juan Somavia, International Labour Organization Director General

International Museum of Women Presents:
'Young Women Speaking the Economy'

SAN FRANCISCO, June 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Extending the voices of young women worldwide, the International Museum of Women's exhibition 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' has begun a necessary conversation with the assistance of multiple online social networking platforms, most prominently Facebook.

Part of "A Project of Economica: Women and the Global Economy," 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' was officially launched by the United States based International Museum of Women (IMOW) on April 21, 2011, in cooperation with three other women's museums and four women's universities in the Sudan, Philippines, United States and Denmark.

The museum's intentional use of a variety of social networking platforms to present and propel the exhibition, and the international collaborative nature of 'Young Women Speaking the Economy,' which features the voices of a core group of 44 young women residing in the United States, Denmark, the Sudan, and the Philippines speaking about their perspectives on entering the workforce at a time of economic uncertainty, has created an online museum exhibit that is both engaging and relevant to a broad base of visitors.

Notes IMOW Executive Director Clare Winterton, "The voices, ideas and perspectives of young women are rarely seen or heard in the current debate about the economy and the global financial crisis. However, women's voices – especially those of a new generation – are crucial to finding new solutions in a world where women's economic contributions and rights are still significantly under-valued."

Through the IMOW's 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' exhibition, the museum has witnessed a new success in engaging younger audiences, attributed to their increased use of social networking platforms and their work with young women to create the material for the exhibition. Utilizing a virtual platform, the IMOW has few barriers for engagement and no entrance fee. Engaging visitors in a manner traditional to 'bricks and mortar' museums, the IMOW caters both to visitors who prefer to explore exhibitions based on themes, in the case of the current exhibit 'Crisis, Choices, and Context,' as well as more active, and often times younger, visitors by providing corollary programs or online platforms that allow for further discussions amongst the participants, museum staff and other interested online visitors.

For the creation of the 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' exhibition, the IMOW, building on their already established online presence, largely relied on social networking technologies to bridge geographic distances, cultures, and language differences. Utilizing a U.S. based director to 'curate' the exhibition, the IMOW actively embraced the opportunities made possible by online platforms such as Facebook, Skype, and Flickr to facilitate one-on-one 'face time' between the participants, as well as to generate the participants' multiple exhibition projects, and engage visitors.

Focusing on such issues as entering the workforce for the first time, considering an expatriate career, generational differences, women's leadership roles and personal economic ambitions, the IMOW's 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' exhibition begins a necessary conversation about world economics, which includes voices of young women from around the globe and, with the assistance of online platforms, makes the exhibition accessible to anyone with a computer and access to the web. In pairing four countries with diverse economies, cultures and histories, 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' creates an exhibition space that allows visitors and participants alike to reflect on the diverse economic realities young women are experiencing today.

The exhibition is funded by Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA), made possible by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Association of Museums, and by MetLife Foundation's Museum and Community Connections grant.

Young Women and the Economy – The Facts:

  • The International Labor Organization found that youth unemployment across the world has climbed to a new high. More young people are unemployed than older workers, and recovery for young men and women is expected to come more slowly. Across the globe, 13 percent of workers ages 15-24 were unemployed in 2010--the highest level in two decades.
  • Repeatedly global reports on women in the economy make the case that female economic empowerment is important to overall development, and there is ample evidence to show that women's talents will make the world more equitable and more prosperous.
  • Across the globe, women are controlling greater portions of global wealth and independently making purchasing decisions, often times being the primary decision maker in the household. However, global statistics state that women: (1) constitute an estimated 70 percent of the world's absolute poor(1), and (2) work two thirds of the world's working hours, and yet earn only 10 percent of the world's income. (Aggregated from the U.N. Millennium Campaign, the World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, the U.N. Population Fund.)

Young Women Speaking the Economy:

'Young Women Speaking the Economy' is a project of the International Museum of Women in partnership with the Sudanese Women's Museum and Ahfad University for Women in the Sudan; the Women's Museum and Aarhus University in Denmark; the Ayala Museum and Miriam College in the Philippines; and Mills College in the United States.


Major funding for the 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' project is provided by Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA), made possible by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Association of Museums; and by MetLife Foundation's Museum and Community Connections grant. Additional support comes from the Emma Willard School.

The International Museum of Women:

The International Museum of Women (IMOW) is a groundbreaking social change museum. Our online arts and multimedia exhibitions educate, create dialogue and advance global, cross-cultural understanding. Learn more at

For further press information, interviews or visuals, please contact:

Wendy Norris
Norris Communications
Arts & Culture Consulting
(415) 307-3853 (cell)

Visit the 'Young Women Speaking the Economy' Exhibition:

(1) International Labor Organization. (2003).

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The following files are available for download:

wkr0001.pdf Press Release- 'Young Women Speaking the Economy'