IGF 2022 WS #71 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; online gender violence

Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (10:50 UTC) - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (12:20 UTC)

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Roberta Metsola, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 2: Emmanuel Niyikora, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 3: Kathrin Morasch, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Nighat Dad, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Karuna Nain, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group


Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Connecting All People and Safeguarding Human Rights With women and girls being disproportionately the victims of online violence and abuse, their gender defines their discriminative experience online. Like everyone, women and girls have a right to participate online equally and without fear of abuse or harassment and we all have a collective responsibility to resolve this. How do we achieve this? 4. Enabling Safety, Security and Accountability Everyone should benefit from technology free from harm. What measures, including policy and technologies, can be deployed to challenge image based abuse online?

Connection with previous Messages: This workshop proposal recognises and specifically picks up and will advance the IGF 2021 Message "Women and girls are disproportionately victimised online and find it difficult to obtain support. Governments need to harmonise legislation to protect victims of non-consensual intimate image abuse, and ensure easy access to redress. Network and platform policies need to accommodate a spectrum of global cultures. Peer support networks for girls who are victims of online gender-based violence, such as Safer Internet Centers, must be strengthened, while digital literacy should be improved through school curricula and start from a young age, before they venture online."



Targets: The proposal specifically debates the discrimination that is perpetrated against women and girls online, but seeks to identify existing good practice, leading policy advancement as well as strategies that have been successfully deployed with a view to amplify to build capacity 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women 5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels


The Good, the bad and the ugly; challenging online violence against women and girls Online gender violence is certainly ugly and bad that this is not challenged. However it is good that the world seems to be finally waking up to the extent to which violence and abuse is perpetrated against women and girls online. The Gender Equality Advisory Council met at the recent G7, and heard from that saw the UK Home Secretary who shared the Home Office’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which will work together with a complementary Domestic Abuse Strategy to improve support for victims, achieve better outcomes through the criminal justice system and improve approaches to dealing with perpetrators. The White House recently published its National strategy on gender equity and equality that “will convene a U.S. Government task force and seek input from leading experts to produce recommendations for preventing and improving the response to technology-facilitated gender-based violence. These efforts will include a focus on addressing cyber stalking, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images” In March, and marking International Womens Day, the European Commission proposed a Directive that will criminalise rape based on lack of consent, female genital mutilation and cyber violence, which includes: non-consensual sharing of intimate images; cyber stalking; cyber harassment; and cyber incitement to violence or hatred. Further example of this is the very participation in this workshop by the European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola. Whilst encouraging that Governments and policymakers are beginning to realise the victimisation and harm occurring online perpetrated against women and girls, there is significant progress to make. The panel and breakout groups will debate and discuss a range of current and influencing factors from across the world, coupled with a variety of strategies and innovations Victim Blaming. When the photos are leaked without consent, comments such as she should have refrained from sending it or she shouldn’t get naked in front of the camera persist, putting the blame on the girl, without addressing the issue that the person who received it had no right to share it with others. Victims often blame themselves too and girls are more likely than boys to face a negative backlash from both male and female peers if their image is shared. The discussion group will highlight examples of leading research, campaigns and policy that challenges victim blaming Stereotypes: Research has found that gender-based violence is closely linked to power imbalances between women and men and harmful expressions of masculinities (UN Women, 2016). In this regard it is important to look at the roots of gender stereotyping and to understand and raise awareness about the factors influencing such stereotypes which range from cultural traditions, family or domestic practices to broader societal and environmental factors such as the sexual objectification of women and girls in media or advertising. The group will discuss how these aspects contribute to harmful gender stereotypes and to normalising gender-based and sexual violence. National Model Responses: As highlighted above, there are many countries across the world now starting to realise the prevalence of violence against women and girls online. This thread will discuss, highlight and compile examples of existing policy and best practice from those participants. Prevention: When someone else shares their intimate images without consent or is threatening to do so, unless they meet specific demands, it can be catastrophic. The UK Revenge Porn Helpline reports “Sextortion” has become the most reported issue in 2021 with cases doubling in comparison to the previous year. Sextortion occurs when a sexual relationship develops online, sexual images are exchanged, and/or sexual encounters occur within a video call. The victim of this issue is extorted for money and blackmailed by their intimate content, as during the interaction the scammers have taken details of followers, friends and family lists and overall done a complete search on their target. The discussion will focus on innovative approaches and opportunities to prevent violence perpetrated against women and girls online, identifying how control can be returned to victims to redress the gender imbalance online

Expected Outcomes

Raise awareness among young people on how to behave online in a safe and responsible way and how to form and sustain healthy online relationships ensuring online gender equality. Raise awareness on different forms of online violence towards women and girls amongst them the non consensual sharing of intimate images, child sexual abuse material and gender based online hate speech. Increased awareness can lead to changes in behaviour Identification and sharing of examples of national model responses including application of policy combatting online violence perpetrated against women and girls Discuss methods and ways on how to prevent violence from happening and ways can women and girls reach out for help. . Discussion about the role of technology companies that govern the commercial Internet Challenge harmful stereotypes online and how they normalise gender-based and sexual violence Call for a set of preventive measures in the education sector and ways to encourage private companies and the media to set self-regulatory standards about sexiest hate speech

Hybrid Format: Having successfully organised and presented a Hybrid workshop at the 2021 IGF, the organisers benefitted greatly from the preparatory support provided by the IGF. The role of the online moderator was key in monitoring and representing the online participants within the discussion, intervening and tabling their comments. It is expected that some of the key participants will also participate remotely and their contribution will be projected into the room, a function managed by the onsite moderator.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.


Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

More data is needed to train IA tools to help tackling online-gender based violence. The problem is that society is normalising men as perpetrators, more investment need to make in educating boys and men as well on this matter. Why does one gender need to make an extra effort to be safe online? Many women and girls are tired of the advice society is giving to them and the language that has been used. We are also putting extra burden on women and

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

IGF workshop: Online-gender based violence

Online participants: 27, including Bangladesh remote hub

Onsite participants: 50+

Opening statements

Women and girls are disproportionally victimized. Gender-based violence is mainly due to power imbalance between women and men. (Roberta Metsola)

Online gender-based violence has become a driver for gender inequality when it comes to internet access. However, with the support of digital technologies, the process to identify victims of gender-based violence and their abusers has been simplified. (ITU)

It’s frustrating to see that mainly women and girls are victims of online violence. This leads to them leaving online spaces, and being less empowered alone. This is a very disappointing trend to see. (Youth IGF)

Through the work done by the Digital Rights Foundation it is clear, that there is a huge lack of awareness between women and girls about their rights and according to policies. Resources on this topic to educate women and girls on this matter are still missing. A multi-stakeholder approach needs be followed to collectively tackle this trend globally by making sure it fits needs and policies at national level. (Digital Rights Foundation)

Gender stereotypes are still very widespread, which in many cases lead to online gender-based violence. To counteract this, over the recent years Meta has actively put reporting mechanism (machine learning) in place to better react. However, the collaboration with civil society organisation is vital in order to properly educate citizens about this matter. (Meta)

Question to panel: Women and girls have the right to participate equally, how are we going to achieve this?

Youth IGF: Three key pillars: Industry, law enforcement and empowerment of women and girls: Industry and law enforcement have the power to actually act in order to achieve this goal. In addition, women and girls need to be more empowered, especially when it comes to their online presence and the pressure of showing an “ideal” image of themselves.

Digital Rights Foundation: Political will is the most important element here. A multi-stakeholder approach is key, however governments need to do, especially when it comes to implementing laws, as often there are misread and misunderstood. In this regard, capacity building of judges is fundamental.

Meta: Funding civil society is vital! Industry and governments need to invest more into work of civil society organisation, who have proven evidence based solutions that so often need funding to continue their great work.

David: The normalization of gender-based violence is concerning, it is a cultural issue we are facing.

ITU: More capacity building (especially in the Africa region) needs to be done, girls and women need to better equipped with skills, how to be safe online and protect their privacy. Educating about cyber hygiene is fundamental. ITU is making great efforts in this regard across Africa, where the issues is especially worrying.

  • More data is needed to train IA tools to help tackling online-gender based violence.
  • The problem is that society is normalising men as perpetrators, more investment need to make in educating boys and men as well on this matter.
  • Why does one gender need to make an extra effort to be safe online? Many women and girls are tired of the advice society is giving to them and the language that has been used. We are also putting extra burden on women and girls to feel empowered online and offline.
  • Resources, community guidelines and reporting on platforms need to be made available in local languages.
  • Inclusivity is key taking inter-sexuality and vulnerable groups into account.
  • Education people (mainly men) about their privilege needs to be enforced. But who can be made responsible for this task?

Final statements by speakers:  

  • ITU: Many men are working on alongside women and girls and are keen supporting them on this matter.
  • Digital Rights Foundation: Treating women is human beings and not only as mothers and daughters will eventually close gender equality.
  • Meta: Efforts on this matter will continue in the best way possible.
  • Youth IGF: Inclusivity and making sure vulnerable groups feel represented is key.