ISD contributes to joint civil society submission to the UN on online violence against women and girls


ISD contributed to a submission to the online consultation on the UN’s Global Digital Compact, which was prepared by a coalition of UK experts on violence against women and girls, including the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Glitch, Refuge, Carnegie UK, NSPCC, 5Rights, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Professor Clare McGlynn (Durham University) and Professor Lorna Woods (Essex University).

The submission outlines that violence against women and girls online is part of the continuum of gendered violence that affects society at a global scale. It highlights that the perpetuation of violence against women and girls in a digital sphere creates wider societal and cultural harm, such as preventing women and girls’ political participation and freedom of expression in the digital space without abuse. Therefore, it argues that an “open, free and secure digital future for all”, as the UN’s Global Digital Compact aims for, cannot be achieved without naming violence against women and girls online as a key issue.

The submission refers to key issues included in the Common Agenda Report, namely ‘applying human rights online’ and ‘accountability for discrimination and misleading content’. The recommendations also refer to a proposed Violence Against Women and Girls Code of Practice, which provides a set of guidelines to technology companies to enable them to understand, address and respond to the breadth of violence against women and girls online – noting the global relevance along with the underlying principle of systemic regulation that informs it. Notably, systemic regulation shifts the focus from individual items of content and looks instead to the underlying systems of the platforms on which content is found, and the impact of design choices and business models on the communications environment created by online platforms.

The full submission is available on the UN’s Global Digital Compact website.

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