IGF 2023 WS #101 Behind the Bullseye Online Violence against InfluentialWomen


Human Rights & Freedoms
Non-discrimination in the Digital Space

Organizer 1: Aicha Fall, Paradigm Initiative
Organizer 2: Miriam Beartrice Wanjiru, Paradigm Initiative
Organizer 3: Sani Suleiman, Paradigm Initiative

Speaker 1: Sandra Aceng, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Adeboye Adegoke, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Thobekile Adebayo , Civil Society, African Group


Aicha Fall, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Miriam Beartrice Wanjiru, Civil Society, African Group


Sani Suleiman, Civil Society, African Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

What approaches can be taken to address online attacks on influential women?
What role do political parties/ governments play in protecting their own data online?
What are the policies that have worked in protecting institutions from digital threats?
How should norms come into play when online data is weaponised against women?

What will participants gain from attending this session? This workshop will call the attention of civil society and politically involved representatives on the power relations in online gender-based violence. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to the important ongoing conversation on protection policies and the need for them to be gender-specific.


Online Gender based violence has come at the forefront of issues on the internet, comparably to its offline version. However, influential women in media and politics, and in media have increasingly become the target of these harmful acts even leading to dire consequences on their reputation and credibility to their audience. This session will explore the norms of online violence towards influential women and the incentives and their relation to gender dynamics in positions of power.
The workshop will start with a presentation of case studies from Southern Africa in which online scandals and violence directed to women. The moderator will then present the theory that considers online violence as a weaponised tool in politics and media. The panellists, using their expertise and diverse background, will then explore the theory with vivid examples.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will explore the norms in politics towards online violence
Participants will understand power relations between politics and online gender-based violence
Participants will give perspectives and suggest possible policy actions to tackle the issue
Participants will be requested to observe their own communities to contribute to the conversation and establish common trends

Hybrid Format: To ensure the session will be hybrid, Paradigm Initiative organisers will have a technical support staff on standby to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the event. This will ensure that participants online will fully participate and benefit from the discussion. Additionally, the organisers will ensure three speakers from Africa, Asia and Latin America are physically present on location in Kyoto, Japan.