#IWD2019: Online gender-based violence affects 45% of women on social media in West and Central Africa
Online gender-based violence in English and French-speaking countries of West and Central Africa is a reality that cannot be denied. A study conducted by Internet Without Borders in 18 countries in these two regions, through a survey of major social networks, provides a first idea of the extent of the phenomenon in this part of the world.*
As elsewhere, the figures are alarming: 45.5% of Facebook and Twitter female users have already experienced a form of gender-based violence while using social media. More disturbing, only 15% of them reported this negative experience. The latter has had a negative impact on the use of social networks for 28.5% of the respondents.
These results echo what has been highlighted for many years by feminist and digital rights groups such as Internet Without Borders. The sense of insecurity online plays a role in the digital divide between men and women: experiences of online violence do not motivate women to stay connected and give a negative bias to those who are yet to join.
Although progress has been made, the gap in connectivity between men and women remains too high: according to the latest GSMA report, women are 23% less likely to use the mobile Internet than men. Yet bridging the digital divide represents an opportunity of $ 700 billion.
On this international day of women’s rights, Internet Without Borders reminds of the urgency to take action against all forms of online gender-based violence, particularly in regions of the world where they reinforce the inequalities to access the Internet and its opportunities. Further research will be needed to better understand the magnitude of the problem. We hope that these data will enable the various actors, including content platforms, civil society, and governments, to strengthen the fight against sexism online.
* Survey conducted from January 3, 2019 to January 9, 2019 on the Facebook and Twitter platforms, on a sample of women aged 18-45 years old, who are Facebook and Twitter users, and live in the following countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone , Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This survey was conducted with a GDPR compliant external platform.
This survey was made possible thanks to a budget of sponsored publications made available by Facebook and Twitter for this campaign.