As part of the Web Foundation’s commitment to tackle digital inequality, the Web Foundation’s Gender and Data Rights team has created a dedicated workstream focused on developing solutions to online gender-based violence and abuse (OGBV).
Tech Policy Design Lab on OGBV
The Tech Policy Design Lab pilot focused on creating solutions to counter violence against women online. This work led to a group of the world’s biggest tech platforms making specific commitments to take action and improve women’s safety on their platforms.
The digital world has become a new front in the assault on the freedom and power of women.
Women and girls are experiencing a surge of violence and abuse online. This abuse takes many forms – perpetrators might threaten women online with physical or sexual violence, or subject women to sexist or misogynistic comments. Individuals or groups might also coordinate abuse and harassment against women online to overwhelm and intimidate them, share non-consensual intimate images of a woman, or publicly share someone’s personal information with the aim to cause them distress and alarm (doxxing).
Why does it matter?
This abuse isn’t less harmful because it happens behind a screen.
OGBV can have devastating consequences for the reputations and the physical and mental health of those targeted. It can cost women their jobs and damage relationships. Furthermore, online abuse can silence, discredit, and censor women's voices online.
There is limited data and research available on the perpetrators of OGBV, and research that does exist often relies on the survivor to provide information about the perpetrator, rather than conducting research with perpetrators directly. From the evidence that does exist, we know that perpetrators work alone and in groups, and can be personally known to the survivor, such as an ex-partner, friend or colleague, but can also be strangers or work through anonymous online profiles.