The Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse (Global Partnership) was first announced at the first U.S. Summit for Democracy in december 2021 by the United States and Denmark. At the 66th session for the Commission on the Status of Women, the Global Partnership was officially launched by the initial set of member countries in the Global Partnership. The Global Partnership is an Action Coalition under Tech for Democracy, which works to address gender-based online harassment and abuse in the long term with an initial mission to deliver concrete results by the end of 2022.
The digital world holds immense potential to amplify the voices of women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals. At the same time, social-media platforms and other digital technologies have given rise to new forms and manifestations of gender-based violence through their misuse; and exacerbated preexisting forms of gender-based violence through their scale, speed, and reach. Moreover, this occurs within an ecosystem characterized by a gender digital divide rooted in structural gender inequalities, in which those who design—and, in some countries or regions, access and use—communications technologies are disproportionately male. Often, gender-based online abuse and harassment reflects and exacerbates offline discrimination and gender disparities: research indicates that its prevalence can be higher in regions where women and girls have lesser legal status, rights, and protections. Because gender-based online harassment and abuse can transcend national borders, and be an added dimension of violence in political and ethnic conflict, meaningful efforts for protection, prevention, and accountability require global, multi-sectoral action and coordination.
The Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse (Global Partnership) will bring together countries, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to better prioritize, understand, prevent, and address the growing scourge of technology-facilitated gender-based violence. The Global Partnership will focus its work on three strategic objectives:
1) Develop and advance shared principles.
Partners will develop a collection/compendium of international best practices and principles that situate certain forms of gender-based online harassment and abuse as a type of intersectional gender discrimination, as a threat to democratic values—particularly in the context of gendered disinformation in elections—and, where applicable, as a violation or abuse of human rights with reference to both international and regional instruments. This includes emphasizing the need for greater accountability for perpetrators and framing the experience of gender-based online harassment and abuse as an impediment to individuals’ ability to exercise their right to freedom of expression; enjoy their rights related to privacy; and fully and equally participate in civic and political life.
2) Increase targeted programming and resources.
Together, partners will focus resources on preventing and responding to gender-based online harassment and abuse, including programs that provide training and support to civil-society organizations, journalists, and politically active women on best practices to document and respond to technology-facilitated gender-based violence.
3) Expand reliable, comparable data and access to it.
Partners will improve the regular collection of comparable data (at the national, regional, and global levels) on gender-based online harassment and abuse and its effects by governments, international organizations, technology platforms, and non-governmental organizations. They will also pilot and evaluate innovative, evidence-informed interventions. Such data should be collected in accordance with safety and ethical standards, and measure the prevalence, impact, and political and economic costs of gender-based online harassment and abuse, particularly at the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Global Partnership will also invest in building a rigorous evidence base to enhance understanding of risk and protective factors associated with experiencing and perpetrating gender-based online harassment and abuse.