Call for safer and equal online space for women and girls

The World Wide Web Foundation and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) call for safer online space for women and girls. Their joint research, which included 8109 female and male respondents from 180 countries, showed that over 50% of women have experienced online abuse, and that 68% of online abuse has taken place on social media platforms. Online violence includes sexual harassment, threatening messages, and private images being shared without consent. In his open statement, Web Foundation founder and the web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, noted  ‘abuse forces women out of jobs and causes girls to skip school’. Other forms of discrimination against women remain hidden, such was the case in 2018 with the automated recruitment tool which systematically ‘under-selected women’. They call for greater action by governments and companies to close gender inequality online. The COVID-19 pandemic showed that women and girls are being left behind. The Web Foundation pledges to continue to research online harms, policy gaps, and to work to close the gender digital divide.