Report of DeLoG in DiaLoGue - Transforming DLG: G for Gender #3 - Gender-Based Violence as Political Violence Against Women

In the framework of the third session of our DeLoG in DiaLoGue series, members and partners came together to discuss the risks and benefits of digitalisation for women’s political participation at the local level.

DeLoG in DiaLoGue – Transforming DLG: G for Gender is a series of informal expert conversations focused on gender transformative approaches. Each session is dedicated to one member and partner to showcase their approach. In the last session, Jelena Janevska, Program Director at NALAS, talked about their work on promoting gender equality at local level and presented best practice examples from South-East Europe. For the third session, on 29th September, we invited Dorothee Segiet and Laura Hartmann from GIZ as well Maëlle Salzinger from ECDPM.  

Dorothee Segiet and Laura Hartmann elaborated on digital transformation and (local) democracy, as well the issue of online gender-based violence (OGBV) in the digital age. On the one hand, digital transformation provides some benefits, for instance a fast and easy access to information and virtual spaces for expression. On the other hand, more digitalisation, is leading to issues like the spread of disinformation and harmful narratives. CSOs and NGOs are increasingly targeted. In particular, politicians, activists, LGBTIQI+ persons and women, are affected by online gender-based violence. According to a 2020 study from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI), 90% of Women in Africa have experienced online violence.  

Maëlle Salzinger, junior policy officer at ECDPM, presented key findings from the 2022 study ‘From hashtags to the streets: digital technologies for women’s political activism. Examples from Africa’. While digital technologies can strengthen women-led political movements and feminist activism in Africa, more digitalisation also leads to a ‘digital gender divide’ in rural areas, leading to underrepresented perspectives and making African women-led political movements less visible online.  

Approaches to prevent and combat gender-based violence include addressing structural barriers, tackling the ‘digital divide’ as well as strengthening civil society actors and increase the availability of gender disaggregated data. One tool to foster participation and to tackle the issues is the ‘Digital Enquiter Kit’, an online self-study course for civil society activist, women, and (citizen) journalists, developed by GIZ. The tool includes six modules, to learn how to identify misinformation, to find and analyse reliable information online and share it securely.  

Click here to access GIZ’s and ECDPM’s resources.