Internet dialogue project unites women worldwide

There are a billion women between 20 and 40, and if she has her way, Paula Goldman will be in touch with many of them.

It’s now theoretically possible, thanks to her new project, “Imagining Ourselves: A Global Generation of Women.” Consisting of an online exhibition, a published anthology and a series of events in scores of countries, “Imagining Ourselves” is a project of the S.F.-based International Museum of Women.

The online project runs through June, anchored at the museum’s Web site,

Goldman’s goal is to “connect women in their 20s and 30s, and inspire them to make positive change in their lives, locally and the world,” she says.

Goldman, 30, happens to be Jewish, and many Jewish women from the United States, Israel and elsewhere have taken part in the project.

“Imagining Ourselves” aims to include women from every culture and continent, every faith and family structure. The three pillars of the project — online exhibit, published anthology and global gatherings —were designed to be as inclusive as possible.

“Online, people post comments,” says the San Francisco resident, “conversing back and forth, posting their own stories and art. The anthology has 105 pieces, both visual and written, from women in 57 countries, all responding to the question: What defines your generation of women?”

That was the question that fired Goldman’s imagination in the first place. A graduate student in public policy and a former staffer with the JCRC, she took the idea of a multimedia project to the International Museum of Women. It started with an online call for submissions, and very quickly Goldman received 3,000 responses from 105 countries.

“We realized we had more than a book,” she says. “We knew we could get people actively involved in a conversation.”

Edited by Goldman and featuring a foreword by Isabel Allende, the “Imagining Ourselves” anthology features photography, paintings, poetry, fiction, songs and essays from 105 women from 57 countries.

Contributors include Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, feminist singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco and ice skater Oksana Baiul. But less famous women — from the daughter of a Somali camel farmer to a human rights activist in Colombia — contributed some of the most moving stories. Topics include everything from juggling family and work, to domestic violence, to HIV/AIDS, to female circumcision.

Goldman isn’t the first person to seek a measure of international sisterhood, but this being the Digital Age, her attempt holds more promise.

“We’re a generation that’s really connected,” says Goldman. “Young women have enjoyed opportunities not available to them 30 years ago. If we could create a platform that showcases positive stories, then we can inspire women to take advantage.”

“Imagining Ourselves: A Global Generation of Women” is online at “Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women” ($29.95, New World Library, 239 pages).

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.