IGF 2023 WS #142 Designing a safe digital environment for women & girls

Organizer 1: Amanda Manyame, 🔒Equality Now
Organizer 2: Angela Minayo, KICTANet
Organizer 3: Tsitsi Matekaire, Equality Now

Speaker 1: Angela Minayo, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Hon. Neema Lugangira, Government, African Group
Speaker 3: Mazuba Haanyama, Private Sector, African Group


Tsitsi Matekaire, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Amanda Manyame, Civil Society, African Group


Amanda Manyame, Civil Society, African Group


Break-out Group Discussions - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How can we leverage opportunities at the global level to accelerate efforts to address technology-facilitated and online sexual exploitation and abuse?
B. What legal and policy measures can and should be made by national governments and the international community?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will leave with a better understanding of the lived experiences of online sexual exploitation and abuse of women as experienced in Kenya, Tanzania, India, and globally. This includes where the gaps in policy and implementation of laws are and the manifestation of online sexual exploitation. Participants will jointly formulate and discuss how to leverage opportunities at the global level to accelerate efforts to address technology-facilitated and online sexual exploitation and abuse and legal and policy measures that can be adopted by national governments and the international community. This knowledge will be taken by participants to their respective communities and regions.



Digital technology and innovation provide an opportunity for advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. However, the scope and scale of digital and internet connectivity is also enabling online harms to occur at unprecedented levels globally. Online sexual exploitation and abuse is rising alarmingly. Women, girls and others impacted by intersecting identities and experiences are at greater risk.

UN Women’s Brief on Online and ICT facilitated violence against women and girls during COVID-19 notes the lack of comprehensive global definition and data on online and technology-facilitated and online violence. While many countries have adopted or are in the process of adopting laws and policy mechanisms to address online sexual exploitation and abuse, there are still many challenges faced by survivors in obtaining legal and other recourse, let alone protection. Like everyone, women and girls have a right to participate in the digital realm equally and without fear of abuse or harassment. Government, civil society, technology companies, and international and regional bodies have a collective responsibility to resolve this.

This year’s Commission on the Status of Women’s Agreed Conclusions highlighted the need for adoption of appropriate measures, including legal or criminal action, to combat the use of digital tools, including social media and online platforms, for the purpose of harassment, hate speech and racism against women and girls, trafficking in persons, and all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls.
This workshop will bring together diverse actors from civil society, governments, the private sector and UN and other bodies and explore how we can leverage the global momentum to address technology-facilitated and online sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly the UN’s commitment to adopt a Global Digital Compact, and the proposed Cybercrimes Convention, along with growing national and regional momentum.

Expected Outcomes

A. Propose legal, policy and technological solutions that can be included in national, regional and international frameworks and common standards including in the Global Digital Compact.
B. Input on the role of the technology sector, and what accountability looks likes.

Hybrid Format: The moderator will ensure inclusive and equitable discussions between people who are both in the room and online so that everyone can have their say. We will use the chatbox function to get written feedback from people joining online; as well as opening the floor to people in the room and online. We’ll also explore whether we can use a ‘jamboard’ where online participants can ‘post’ sticky notes, depending on what meeting platform the IGF are using. Women’s voices will be prioritised. And we will make sure that people joining online are invited to speak first so that they are not disadvantaged by being online.