In mid-September, Nona Jones, founder of SistersSpace.com, conducted research on black women for a marketing project. She said as she searched Google, she found images of scantily clad young women with long weave down to her behind.
Jones said she came across women in g-strings, posed in ways that would have embarrassed their mothers.
“There is so much more to black women than these images suggest,” she said. “I created SistersSpace to help black women define themselves.”
SistersSpace.com is a fast-growing online community, developed for black women to join and network with each other, and gain encouragement and insight on the challenges they face. It averages about 20 new members a day and presently has about 580 members.
Members of SisterSpace.com have the opportunity to discuss topics in forums that are important to them, connect with old friends, or get advice from fellow members. Also, there are subgroups on the website called “SisterGroups,” where women that share common interests can connect. The Web site was founded to meet every basic need and answer questions commonly asked by black women. It also provides upcoming events that may benefit the members.
The Essence Young Women’s Leadership Conference is a featured event on the Web site. The conference is for goal-oriented, driven young women under 30, who want to advance their careers.
The website offers a diverse culture, but the common factor is all members are black women.
Jones said her mission for SistersSpace.com is to foster sisterhood among black women while nourishing every aspect of their lives. She said that members range from elementary school age girls to women with PhDs. So far, the site has garnered a devout following. Among those individuals is Ashley Biggs, who joined SisterSpace in October after hearing about it from her mother.
“The Web site offers endless information on so many different subjects,” said 20-year-old Florida State University student. “The conversation between other women my age is great and I love the aspect of women being so positive towards one another.”
Her mother, Rita Biggs, shares the same opinion.
“The website is a delight,” said Biggs, who has been a member of the site since it was first launched in September. “It caters to all our needs as black women and the ladies on the site are so eager in giving out information in their field of expertise.”
Also featured on SistersSpace is “The Nona Jones Show,” a web talk show featuring prominent black women from all occupational fields. Guests on the show have included Lynette Khalfani-Cox , the first black woman to graduate with a Harvard MBA, and Gwendolyn P. Lee, International President of The Links, Inc.
Future plans for the site include an online magazine, annual conference, and travel getaways.
Jones said the ultimate vision for SistersSpace.com is to be the online community of choice for black women, with a global membership of 1 million women by the summer of 2010.