With the participation of the SaferInternet4Kids’ Youth Panel the IGF workshop on online gender-based violence

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was successfully completed with the participation of the Greek Safer Internet Center (Greek SIC) of FORTH as one of the representatives of INSAFE.

SaferInternet4Kids in collaboration with the Safer Internet Centers of UK and Malta conducted a workshop in the Internet Governance Forum 2021 (IGF 2021) , namely “Mind the Gender Gap OR Mend the Gender Gap“.

The panel discussed issues related to online gender-based violence, in particular non-consensual image sharing, and discussed gender-based violence effects on women and girls. Marina Kopidaki, a member of the Youth Panel of SaferInternet4Kids, participated in the panel and stressed out the extent of the phenomenon in Greece and the importance of dealing with it. Marina pointed out that the first steps that needs to be taken is to raise awareness from an early age. Marina also highlighted the fact that girls and women have to be able to identify gender-based violence in the first place, and to deal with it as such. So awareness raising and digital literacy is the way to go.

As the workshop showed, it is not enough to understand the issues regarding online gender-based violence, but to identify the strategies and solutions needed to address these issues and gender imbalances. The panel discussed and highlighted how technology and communities are resisting.

Whereas on one hand social media platforms are thriving with advanced technological software to identify and stop the sharing of non-consensual intimate images, a different approach is currently being adopted for online hate speech directed towards women and girls. A recent example of this was the Suez Canal incident, following the ship obstruction, fake information was circulating the internet and emerged on different social media platforms that the ship captain was a woman. In most of the articles’ images of Egypt’s first female ship captain which were taken from a news story released earlier were attached to the article. The comments accompanying these articles were very degrading and sexual. In fact, in an interview with the BBC, she has stated that “I felt I might be targeted because I’m a successful woman in my field”. The article was written in English thus it circulated internationally. The comments targeting this woman mainly because of her gender were online for a long time and in different languages. Such incidents are a proof that women are being targeted because of their gender and more needs to be done to prevent the sharing of fake information targeting women and allowing comments targeting women from being uploaded.