Issues > violence against women
Gender Assessments and Research
Access to mobile technology is increasing rapidly in Pakistan, and women are also gaining access, albeit at a slower rate than men. Kyla Pasha examines how mobile technology is ripe for use in strategies of empowerment, as long as access to technology is accompanied by training and orientation.
The report focuses on the lives of adolescents in two of the current scenarios of faster growth: the urban environment and the digital world. Both have new opportunities for girls and young women but also risks that have hardly been investigated and regulated. Prejudice and poverty exclude millions of girls from taking advantages of the transformative possibilities that cities and information and ICTs can offer. The 2010 'Because I am a Girl' brings lots of exciting examples from around the world that ICTs open up for girls in terms of learning, networking, campaigning and personal development, such as girls tweeting to amplify their voices in global discussions on women’s rights. The report has also interesting and context specific recommendations on how to enhance girls access to science and technology.
In Congo, Sylvie Niombo explores the intersection of VAW and ICTs, where mobile phone use appears to be the primary vehicle used to perpetrate VAW using ICTs. SMS and phone calls are used by some men to harass women and girls. Male monitoring of women’s use of mobile phones leads to blurring of privacy issues and power relations between men and women are reflected by who has the resources to buy cell phones. Mobile phones are also used by young people to disseminate pictures of naked girls.
In the context of a country with one of the world's worst human rights records, women and girls are the victims of sexual violence perpetrated mostly by combatants from both sides. However, Sylvie Niombo finds in this paper that the intersections between violence against women and girls and ICTs in the DRC are not well established. The internet makes it possible to share experiences and receive information to advance the cause of women’s rights but can facilitate violence towards Congolese women and girls. A lack of confidence in the legal system and the strong presence of men in the judiciary make women unlikely to seek help from the courts, but there is growing mobilisation of women and human rights organisations in the fight to end violence against women (VAW) in partnership with the United Nations and international organisations.
Jessica Umanos Sotos explores why specific law is needed in the Philippines to prosecute perpetrators of violence against women through the use of ICTs or cyberspace. She argues that national ICT institutions and private companies’ policies cannot remain blind to the violations to women’s rights perpetuated via ICTs in the context of the violation of privacy rights through the illicit production and distribution of private and intimate activities. The violation of privacy rights comes in the form of sex-video scandals via telephony and internet. She also documents how, although there are no available studies on how other forms of violence such as stalking or sexual harassment and even direct threats are figuring as VAW via mobile phones, these violations are believed to be widespread
Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia: Cross-country Study on Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies
María Isabel and María Alejandra Davidziuk compare the findings of four national reports from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia undertaken as part of the APC WNSP project “Strengthening women’s strategic use of ICTs to combat violence against women and girls”. In their analysis they look at some barriers (both institutional and cultural) that need to be overcome in order for ICTs to be successfully used to decrease violence against women and girls.
Cambodia, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines: Cross-country Study on Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies
Sonia Randhawa, genderIT.org writer and editor, compares the findings of four national reports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines undertaken by the APC WNSP as part of the project “Strengthening women’s strategic use of ICTs to combat violence against women and girls”.
Cristina Peralta examines the situation in Argentina, where few cases of VAW using ICTs have been denounced. One study found that a small percentage of young girls had been contacted by unknown people via chat or Facebook before disappearing. Cell phones are also used for controlling women's mobility and have become one of the first artifacts to be destroyed by the partner during violent reactions, according to survivor testimony. However, most of the organisations that work on VAW issues primarily use ICTs for sharing information and networking. Some of them participate in observatories, that include VAW in the media as one of their concerns. This paper looks at these issues, and concludes with recommendations for civil society to help address these problems and formulate policy to deal with emerging challenges. Read the English abstract of the paper below. Full paper is available in Spanish.
In this paper, Ingrid Leao, Thais Lapa and Tamara Amoroso discuss violence against women in the media, with advertisement and TV show examples. It also looks at civil society expectations for the first National Conference on Communications, to be held in December 2009. It examines the use of social networks like Orkut and Twitter; denouncements of VAW practices, such as cyber-bullying of teenage girls; and how ICTs are also used for prevention and assistance of VAW survivors.Read the abstract of the paper below. Full paper is available in Spanish.
Chim Manavy examines how growth of the internet is pushing the limits of a society's attitudes towards acceptable media images, through exploitative use of images taken for private consumption. Technology is moving across boundaries faster than the law can address. At the same time, ICT use in general, much less awareness of how ICTs can be strategically used to combat violence against women, is very limited in Cambodia. While other women’s organisations and networks worldwide are already using online resources in a myriad of ways to mobilise support and share experiences, most Cambodian women are not familiar with the use of ICT.