Digital Literacy Practices of Algerian Women during the 2019 Popular Movement
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Through a content analysis, this study sought to examine women’s digital literacy practices during the 2019 Algerian popular movement called the Hirak. Data were collected from Twitter. The selection criteria for the sampling was set to be user-generated content mined through the hashtag خليها_تهدر# (#Let_her_speak). Tweets, comments, videos, photographs, and pictures were collected. The timeline for the data collection was set between March 29, 2019 and April 30, 2019. The analysis procedures were inductive and followed a coding process of five cycles. Findings indicated that women’s digital activism via Twitter went through a simultaneously empowering and oppressing dynamic. Women relied on the speed, interactivity, and flexibility of social media platforms to support the feminists’ demands and place women’s rights in the Hirak. This study’s findings mirrored the body of research that considered social media as a game changer for gender equality and viewed Twitter as a powerful instrument to push women’s issues onto the public agenda. However, Twitter did reflect the real-world patterns of the Algerian society, and verbal attacks and threats of physical abuse took place. Feminists were threatened with acid attacks and were verbally abused on Twitter. The online harassment of women shed light on how the digital world is far from being a utopia, and the constant analysis of the utopian and dystopian aspects of social media platforms is necessary to advance women’s digital literacy skills. Women’s activism during the Hirak uncovered a few digital practices that can be incorporated to boost learners’ political participation. First, it is imperative for educators to address the digital divide in their classrooms to ensure digital equity for everybody. Second, understanding learners’ social media use is a key element to inform future education policies and practices. Finally, learners have to develop a critical perspective toward social media and fully understand the empowering and disempowering nature of online spaces.