International Day of The Girl – Let’s talk about “Safe Sisters”

Woman holding two puzzle pieces.

Today is International Day of The Girl.

This year’s theme, “Digital generation,” explores how to close gaps in digital access by women while supporting safe spaces where women can connect online and learn.

Through our gender-focused digital initiatives, we want to ensure that girls and young women are provided with the skillset necessary to have the best experiences online, and subsequently offline as well.

Women across the globe routinely, even daily, encounter gender-based online harassment, and in some extreme cases, this harassment escalates to death threats and other threats of physical violence.

Women human rights defenders especially face this specific type of harassment and bullying online. As a way to directly address this behavior, the Safe Sisters program was created to provide training on how to navigate online harassment.

Safe Sisters is a fellowship program for women human rights defenders, journalists or media workers, and activists that trains them to understand and respond to the digital security challenges they face in their work and daily life.

Through a combination of self-study, tool practice, mentorship, workshops, peer sharing, and small grants, these cohorts of women will join forces to take on the most pressing digital challenges that prevent women from being able to work safely online, and live safely the rest of the time.

 “We have observed this pattern play out repeatedly around the world, perpetuating a terrible cycle.” says Haley Slafer, co-founder of Safe Sisters and Internews Program Director.

“Traditional approaches to digital security training are needlessly hyper-technical. Many women we have worked with, who are tech-savvy but not tech experts, assumed for too long that this was not a space for them.”

As a result, Safe Sisters was created to address the unfortunately reality that men and women have alternate internet realities. And that as a result of this, specific digital security training is required for women.