IGF 2023 WS #237 Online Linguistic Gender Stereotypes

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (23:45 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (01:15 UTC)
WS 2 – Room A

Digital Divides & Inclusion
Gender Digital Divide

Organizer 1: Luke Rong Guang Teoh, NetMission.Asia
Organizer 2: Stella Anne Ming Hui Teoh, NetMission.Asia
Organizer 3: Bea Guevarra, 🔒NetMission.Asia

Speaker 1: Sarah Arumugam, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Dhanaraj Thakur, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Manjet Kaur Mehar Singh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Júlia Tereza Rodrigues Koole, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Luke Rong Guang Teoh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Additional Speakers

Juliana Harsianti

Umut Pajaro Velasquez

Arnaldo de Santana


Stella Anne Ming Hui Teoh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Bea Guevarra, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Bea Guevarra, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How can such online linguistic gender stereotypes affect users' perceptions of their self-worth and value? Thus, what implications does this have on the current gender digital divide? B. How can these online linguistic gender stereotypes result in negative experiences for youths, both online and in the real world? C. How can end users, especially the youth, stop and challenge these linguistic gender stereotypes online from a bottom-up or grassroots approach? D. What measures can be taken to improve the youth’s awareness of online linguistic gender stereotypes and bridge the digital divide, especially among young girls?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain new knowledge on how linguistic gender stereotypes can affect their perceived self-worth; the impacts of these stereotypes could even affect their future of work and could further increase the gender digital divide. Next, participants will learn how to identify gender stereotypical language and this can better efforts in cultivating an inclusive Internet. Additionally, they will learn best practices that they can utilize to create an inclusive Internet through the power of language. Upon completing the workshop, participants will also be able to compare their experiences with gender-stereotypical language online and contrast the similarities and differences present in different cultures; this will help build a more global perspective and identify common key areas that need to be addressed to build an inclusive Internet for all.


Aligned with Theme 5 Global Digital Divides & Inclusion, this workshop focuses on the intersections of language, the Internet, and the gender digital divide. Linguistic gender stereotypes are generalizations or assumptions that people make based on someone's gender that are reflected in language (Lindvall-Östling et al., 2020). These stereotypes include beliefs about the roles, behaviors, characteristics, and abilities of individuals based on their gender (Casad & Timko, 2017). Such gender stereotypes are a common occurrence in the digital world. Moreover, according to the Internet Society, even in societies with high overall connectivity rates gender-based inequality is common. The topics discussed in this workshop include the following: Examples of linguistic gender stereotypes, the impacts of these stereotypes on Internet users and the gender digital divide as well as the best practices to challenge such stereotypes. A NetLinguistics (Internet Linguistics) and gender focussed approach will be used. The discussion will garner insights from experts in gender inclusivity, sociolinguistic scholars and youth representatives. The fruits of the discussion will hopefully spark new avenues which Internet users can use to promote more inclusive language while on the Internet. In doing so, proving that Language plays an important role in bridging the gender digital divide. Seeing as there is still more room for representation from the field of linguistics in Internet Governance, this workshop will also serve as an impetus for linguists, language scholars and students to garner interest towards the betterment of the Internet; ensuring equal representation from diverse fields in the process of creating an Internet powered by inclusive language that can hopefully uplift the marginalized and disadvantaged.

Agenda: 90 mins Introduction (5 mins) Panel Discussion (30 mins) Roundtable discussion (30 mins) Open floor Q&A (15 mins) Remarks & Summary (10 mins)

Expected Outcomes

The salient findings may be used by the Sociolinguists invited as speakers as a basis for future research and publications in the field of Sociolinguistics or other applied linguistics fields which include gender inequality and language. This would prove to be salient and up-to-date contributions to academia. The workshop organizers will also utilize the pertinent findings from the workshop as material for enablement and training sessions for youth. The key takeaways may also be incorporated as learning material for future workshops/sessions at NetMission.Asia.

Hybrid Format: To facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees; the organizers will be allocating speaking time for all parties (+ any buffering). The workshop organizers hope to share the session output in the form of an infographic or report on NetMission.Asia website; to enable participants or other people to revisit the session outputs after the event concludes.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Online linguistic gender stereotypes is a prevalent issue in many regions. It impacts the future of many young girls.

These stereotypes may lead to violence against women.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

We need more comprehensive capacity building so the youth are well educated on this topic.

More conversations need to be held at the regional and international level so that people are aware of the dangers of online linguistic gender stereotypes.

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

Executive Summary:

This report synthesizes WS #237 focused on the profound impact of linguistic gender stereotypes in online spaces, with a particular emphasis on their consequences for youth and marginalized groups. The discussion underscores the pressing need for collective action via a multistakeholder approach to address this issue comprehensively.


The conversation revolved around the pervasive presence of linguistic gender stereotypes and hate speech online, primarily affecting women and gender-diverse individuals, highlighting the following key points:

Linguistic Gender Stereotypes and Hate Speech: The discussion initiated by addressing online linguistic gender stereotypes and hate speech, emphasizing their grave implications, especially for women and gender-diverse individuals.

Gender Digital Divide: It was emphasized that linguistic gender stereotypes contribute to a gender digital divide, alienating and subjecting women and gender-diverse individuals to aggressive hate, affecting their self-esteem and participation in online platforms.

AI and Language Models: The discourse delved into the role of AI, particularly language models like ChatGPT, in perpetuating stereotypes and biases, emphasizing the importance of diverse training data.

Education and Empathy: The significance of education in addressing these issues was underscored, with a call to teach inclusivity and diversity from a young age to foster empathy and understanding.

Platform Responsibility: The pivotal role of online platforms in countering hate speech and stereotypes was discussed, with suggestions for improved design, privacy measures, and transparent algorithms.

Community Engagement: The panelists advocated for more community involvement and open dialogues, recognizing the importance of engaging all stakeholders in addressing these challenges.

Breaking Stereotypes: Breaking linguistic gender stereotypes was acknowledged as a formidable but essential task, necessitating narrative change, empathy promotion, and targeting younger generations to drive change.

International Legislation: While international legislation was deemed important, it was acknowledged that breaking stereotypes remains intricate.

Support and Recognition: A need for greater support and recognition for those affected by online hate speech, given its impact on mental health and self-esteem, was highlighted.

Key Recommendations:

The panelists recognize the urgency of addressing linguistic gender stereotypes and hate speech in online spaces. They propose a multifaceted approach that encompasses education, platform responsibility, community engagement, and breaking stereotypes to create a more inclusive and respectful online environment, particularly for women and gender-diverse individuals. The following recommendations emerged:

Education as the First Step: An emphasis on education, particularly regarding the language's impact on self-worth, should be placed, with a focus on youth.

AI and Language Models: The need for more diverse training data for AI, and active dialogue between linguists and the technical community, to ensure inclusivity in internet interactions.

Platform Design and Multistakeholder Approach: A demand for better platform design and the incorporation of inputs from all stakeholders, following a multistakeholder approach, to tackle these challenges effectively.

Youth-Centric Education: Educational systems should instill best practices in social media content consumption and production, safeguarding the youth from falling victim to stereotypes.


The discussion unambiguously emphasizes the imperative of combating online linguistic gender stereotypes and hate speech in the digital realm. The proposed strategies, including youth education, diversifying AI training data, improving platform design, and fostering inclusivity, are seen as essential steps toward creating a more equitable and harmonious online environment. By embracing these recommendations, we can hope to bridge the gender digital divide and protect the well-being of youth and marginalized groups in the online world.