IGF 2021 Town Hall #41 Interventions: Ending Online Violence Against Women in Politics

Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (16:05 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (17:05 UTC)
Ballroom A

Digital policy and human rights frameworks: What is the relationship between digital policy and development and the established international frameworks for civil and political rights as set out in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and further interpretation of these in the online context provided by various resolutions of the Human Rights Council? How do policy makers and other stakeholders effectively connect these global instruments and interpretations to national contexts? What is the role of different local, national, regional and international stakeholders in achieving digital inclusion that meets the requirements of users in all communities?
Inclusion, rights and stakeholder roles and responsibilities: What are/should be the responsibilities of governments, businesses, the technical community, civil society, the academic and research sector and community-based actors with regard to digital inclusion and respect for human rights, and what is needed for them to fulfil these in an efficient and effective manner?

Birds of a Feather - Classroom - 60 Min


Violence against women in politics poses a deepening challenge to democracy, serving as a key tool of illiberalism and democratic backsliding across the globe. The need to counter the violence women in politics face online is not just an important facet of promoting women’s equitable political participation, but is essential to modern democracy and civic engagement.  However, online spaces have consistently been shown to fall short of this ideal, enabling the transfer of the misogyny that politically-active women face in person to migrate to the online space.  The impact of this violence is to have a chilling effect on the political ambitions and engagement of women and girls, decreasing their presence and agency in politics and public life.  Increasingly, this violence is part of intentional, political tactics by illiberal, and anti-democratic forces to suppress the numbers of politically-active women and to constrain the diversity of voices and agendas that are heard in public discourse. 

NDI will be implementing a project to directly address this problem by preparing a list of targeted interventions that CSOs, tech companies, and governments can take to create a safe and inclusive environment for female politicians and political candidates. The proposed interventions may be policy interventions, updates tech companies can make to their platforms, or monitoring and accountability actions that CSOs can implement.  

During this session, NDI will present potential intervention points to the audience and request feedback.  NDI will engage panelists from each sector (civil society, government, and tech platforms) who have worked on directly addressing this issue to share their experience and lessons learned. What interventions have worked? What hasn’t worked? What work still needs to be done?  


National Democratic Institute
Moira Whelan, National Democratic Institute Daniel Arnaudo, National Democratic Institute Sandra Pepera, National Democratic Institute Caroline Hubbard, National Democratic Institute Kaleigh Schwalbe, National Democratic Institute Molly Middlehurst, National Democratic Institute Sarah Oh, Facebook and Atlantic Council TBD Local partners that will be engaged throughout the project


Moira Whelan is the Director of Democracy and Technology at the National Democratic Institute. Moira has more than 20 years of experience at the forefront of international engagement and technology. Before joining NDI she was a founding partner in BlueDot Strategies, a consulting firm based in Washington, DC that specialized in assisting technology companies engage governments. Moira served as the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Digital Strategy at the US Department of State where spearheaded digital diplomacy efforts and counseled governments around the world in integrating digital tools into their outreach efforts. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs at the US Agency for International Development where she oversaw the global communications team and integrated digital tools into development outreach.

Nighat Dad is the Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan. She is an accomplished lawyer and a human rights activist. Nighat Dad is one of the pioneers who have been campaigning around access to open internet in Pakistan and globally. She has been actively campaigning  and  engaging at a policy level on issues focusing on Internet Freedom, Women and technology, Digital Security and Women’s empowerment. Ms. Dad has been recently included in Next Generation Leaders List by TIME's magazine for her work on helping women fight online harassment.

Nima Elmi leads Bumble's Public Policy work across Europe. She is a technology policy expert, who is passionate about advocating for the online safety for women and girls, encouraging responsible innovation and safety by design policies to help end misogyny and online harassment. She has extensive experience in law, technology regulation, international relations, peacebuilding, and public-private cooperation having previously worked at the World Economic Forum, in Government, at the UN and at international law firms in the UK and Middle East. Nima has been recognised for her achievements by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and the UK Powerlist as a Rising Star. She has written, spoken and lectured on technology policy issues.

Gemma Mendoza leads Rappler’s multi-pronged efforts to address disinformation in digital media, harnessing big data research, fact-checking, and community workshops. As one of Rappler’s pioneers who launched its Facebook page Move.PH in 2011, Gemma initiated strategic projects that connect journalism and data with citizen action, particularly in relation to elections, disasters, and other social concerns.  An AB History graduate at UP Diliman in 1994, Gemma started exploring the world wide web and data after a crash course on online publishing and research for Asian journalists at the Stockholm University in Sweden in 2004, when she was with Newsbreak magazine.

Amalia Toledo is a Public Policy Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Wikimedia Foundation and an independent expert examining how the development of technology and policy can impact and benefit the exercise of human rights and gender equality. She has contributed to national and international policy initiatives and has presented in various global, regional, and national spaces on a range of internet policy and human rights issues. In addition, she has researched and written on access to knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, cybersecurity, surveillance, and the intersection between gender and technology.

Online Moderator

Moira Whelan


Kaleigh Schwalbe



Targets: These interventions directly target ending online violence against women in politics through proposed policy changes, meeting each of these SDGs.