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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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July 20, 2013

Making Cyber Space a Safe Space for Women and Girls

25 July 13 Orange Day logofrom the UNiTE Web page

Find activities and action ideas for the 25 July 2013 Orange Day to make cyber space a safe space for women and girls.

Technological developments in information and communications have presented rich and varied opportunities for advancements in the empowerment and participation of women and girls. New platforms now exist from which to raise awareness and disseminate information which have enabled women access to a wealth of information, presented new modes of communication, and new means of mobilization. The proliferation of digital technologies have enabled the development of innovative tools and programmes to prevent and end violence against women  and girls and have facilitated information sharing on the topic.

Unfortunately, along with the myriad of possibilities brought about by technological developments, new risks and types of violence have also emerged. One such form of violence is cyberbullying, which occurs on the internet and mobile phones and can be initiated in cyberspace, or be an extension of face-to-face bullying.  Cyberbullying can include threats and attempts to humiliate its subject through the posting of embarrassing pictures or personal information. It can be particularly difficult to hold perpetrators to account since bullies can easily conceal their identity online.

Technology has also played a role in enabling and exacerbating violence which takes place offline. It offers possibilities to store and share personal information about ones’ movements, social life and finances which have offered increased possibilities for partners or family members to exert control in the lives of others. Furthermore, the anonymity afforded by the internet has exposed women and girls to specific risks, including the possibility that those who they are communicating with are doing so under a false identity.

At the 57th Session on the Commission of the Status of Women, governments made a range of commitments directed towards harnessing the possibilities offered by information and communication technologies and making cyberspace safe for women and girls:

Support the development and use of information and communication technologies and social media as a resource for the empowerment of women and girls, including access to information on the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls; and develop mechanisms to combat the use of information and communication technologies and social media to perpetrate violence against women and girls, including the criminal misuse of information and communication technologies for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, child pornography and trafficking in women and girls, and emerging forms of violence, such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying and privacy violations that compromise women’s and girls’ safety. Pg. 13 (WW)

Find activities and action ideas for the 25 July 2013 Orange Day to make cyber space a safe space for women and girls.

Categories: Commission on the Status of Women, Human Rights, Web/Tech, Women, Young Women

Tags: cyber space, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, orange, orange day, unite, violence against women

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