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Helping End
Online Gender-Based Violence

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.

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What is OGBV?

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. 

Women from all ages, regions and professions are affected by OGBV. However, there are certain communities who are particularly impacted by OGBV. Women experiencing other forms of oppression are more at risk, such as members of the LGBTQI+ community and indigenous women, as are women working in the public eye. Globally, 38% of women have reported being personally subject to online violence. This rises to 45% for Gen Zs and Millennials. A 2020 Web Foundation survey found 52% of young women and girls had experienced abuse 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.


Read the report to find out more about the recommendations, design suggestions, and our unique approach to tech policy design.