IGF 2023 Town Hall #62 Collaborating to Strengthen Women in Politics’ Online Safety

Issue(s)

Online Hate Speech and Rights of Vulnerable People

Round Table - 60 Min

Description

Online violence against women in politics (OVAW-P) poses a deepening challenge to democracy, serving as a key tool of illiberalism and democratic backsliding across the globe. This online behavior seeks to achieve political outcomes: targeting individual women to harm them or drive them out of public life, while also sending a message that women in general should not be involved in politics. Without a strong gender-informed digital security foundation, women political leaders face an uphill battle against those seeking to harm them in the digital sphere. As a result, helping women political leaders identify and address digital security attacks (such as the deployment of spyware, account hacking, and the use of expansive surveillance technology) is a critical element for those seeking to assist in the fight against OVAW-P. Each sector has a role to play in addressing this issue: civil society, governments, and technology platforms. By sharing information, collaborating, and providing resources to address this issue, these sectors can take part in supporting women in politics to be able to participate online more freely and safely.

Through this Roundtable session, NDI will share the results of their ongoing work in Malawi to build a community of practice of women political leaders facing online violence and to develop digital security resources to provide support. Pollicy, a pan-African digital feminist organization based in Uganda, will share information from their recent Byte Bullies report that details the online violence experienced by women in politics during the recent election in Kenya. From the government perspective, a member of Parliament for Tanzania will discuss the government’s role in legislating and providing resources to better protect and support political women online. Microsoft will discuss how leveraging threat intelligence and sharing information with CSOs can better prepare them to address upcoming threats in this space. Roundtable attendees will be encouraged to share resources and join with speakers from the aforementioned institutions to ideate around the development of cross-sectoral partnerships to strengthen the digital safety of women in politics.

This session will be livestreamed virtually and the online moderator’s role will be to ensure that online participants are able to ask questions, share resources, and participate in the roundtable. Every other question or comment will be alternated between in person and online to ensure equal participation. Two of our speakers will also be presenting virtually using google slides. The rapporteur will take notes throughout the session in a google doc which will be shared with participants after the session.

Organizers

🔒National Democratic Institute
Moira Whelan, National Democratic Institute, Civil Society, North America
Evan Summers, National Democratic Institute, Civil Society, North America
Amara Shaker-Brown, National Democratic Institute, Civil Society, North America
Madeleine Nicoloff, National Democratic Institute, Civil Society, North America
Irene Mwendwa, Policy, Civil Society, Africa

Speakers

Moira Whelan, National Democratic Institute, Civil Society, North America (in-person)
Evan Summers, National Democratic Institute, Civil Society, North America (online)
Irene Mwendwa, Policy, Civil Society, Africa (in-person)
Hon. Neema Lugangira, Member of Parliament in Tanzania, Government, Africa (in-person)
Amy Larsen, Microsoft, Private Sector, North America (online)

Onsite Moderator

Moira Whelan

Online Moderator

Amara Shaker-Brown

Rapporteur

Evan Summers

SDGs

5. Gender Equality
5.1
5.2
5.5
5.b


Targets: The proposed session closely aligns with SDG 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, especially towards ending forms of discrimination and online violence against women in politics. By eliminating or reducing online threats to political women, it will improve their opportunities to equally engage online. The session also focuses on enabling technology resources to promote the safety and empowerment of women.