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IDRC funding extends reach of global survey on tech-facilitated gender-based violence

December 8, 2022
IDRC-supported research on technology-facilitated gender-based violence in the Global South is expanding to more countries. It seeks to understand the extent of the violence and the factors contributing to it and to mobilize evidence for action.
A woman in a purple head scarf checks her mobile phone while walking in an arid, rural area in the Horn of Africa.
Petterik Wiggers/Panos Pictures

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced this CAD1.5-million second phase of research, led by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), at an event about technology-facilitated gender-based violence that was hosted by the United Nations Population Fund and the Grace Farms Foundation.

Around the world, the voices of women and gender-diverse people are being silenced by harassment and targeted attacks online that can take many forms, such as impersonation, surveillance, tracking, spam and sharing personal information. There is a dearth of statistically significant research on the experiences of women and queer communities online and the levels of harassment and violence they face.

CIGI’s first IDRC-supported round of surveys was conducted in 18 countries. The initial analysis found that approximately six out of 10 women and transgender, non-binary and non-heterosexual individuals have experienced online coercion and harassment, sexual harms and harms to identity, reputation, privacy and security. Nearly half of the people who had been harassed reported an impact on their mental health and struggled with stress, anxiety, or depression, while nearly four in 10 felt adverse effects on their ability to engage freely online and express their views. Full survey results from this first phase of research will be released in the coming months. 

Renewed support from IDRC will enable CIGI to extend the surveys to a further 15 to 18 countries and delve into the regional and country-level online experiences of women, girls and LGBTQI+ communities across the Global South. The project includes capacity building and the creation of a network of scholars and experts to build the field and a community of practice on this subject. Communications and mobilization will target development, private sector and government actors so they can improve the design of responses to online gender-based violence, including the regulation of online social media platforms, education programs and legal recourse.  

This announcement comes during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which launched on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on Human Rights Day on December 10.

Find out more about IDRC support for a safer digital public sphere