Organised together with Women Political Leaders (WPL), the OECD Forum Virtual Event Preventing Online Gender-Based Violence and Disinformation from Silencing Women in Public Life will focus on the impact of online gender-based violence and disinformation on women’s participation in public life.
A new WPL Women’s Political Career Report to be launched in April highlights that 85% of surveyed women politicians worldwide are victims of online violence and cyberbullying. And while the reputational, economic, mental, and sometimes even physical harms for women are clear, no less significant are the broader consequences for gender equality and our democracies at large. Women often end up withdrawing from the digital sphere, silencing and isolating themselves, and eventually losing opportunities to build their education, professional career and support networks. Discouraged from seeking political careers, pushed out of politics, or prevented from achieving leadership roles in academia, business and civil society, women are effectively prevented from participating in public life. Already, we are seeing women politicians step down due to abuse and intimidation, while many report it is becoming a barrier to those considering running for election. Gender equality in public life has long been an uphill battle. Urgent action is needed to address online gender-based violence and disinformation as our societies simply cannot afford going backwards now.