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What does online gendered harmful content look like globally? How does online gendered harmful content impact public-facing women?
The issue of online gendered harmful content is a significant one, as it can have serious consequences for individuals and communities. Online harassment and abuse can cause severe emotional distress and potentially lead to physical harm. Women and members of marginalized gender identities are particularly vulnerable to this type of abuse, and studies have shown that they are more likely to experience online harassment than men.
Online gendered harmful content, especially when targeting public-facing women, has a particularly disastrous impact on free speech and democratic participation, as both the target and other women can be intimidated and silenced. This narrowing of public discourse limits the diversity of voices and perspectives that are represented in online and offline civic spaces and decision-making.
There are various strategies to address online gendered harmful speech, including education and awareness-raising, legal action, and platform-level interventions. Yet, effective legislation is difficult to enforce, education and awareness-raising are not rigorous enough to be significant, and social media companies can be slow to respond- especially to harmful content originating from the Global South. It is crucial that individuals, communities, and online platforms work together to create safe and inclusive online spaces where everyone can participate without fear of harassment or abuse.
This report aims to answer the questions: What does online gendered harmful content look like globally? How does online gendered harmful content impact public-facing women?