Europe is facing times of both challenge and opportunity, driven by a post-pandemic recovery and its economic and societal ramifications. But also driven by globalization, geopolitical shifts such as the on-going Russian war of aggression in Ukraine or generational challenges such as the climate crisis. All of it amplified by the digital transformation that we are in the middle of.
As our societies continues to move online, the technology industry and digital policymakers have a bigger responsibility than ever before to address potential misuses of digital products and services. While society as a whole continues to reap the benefits of digitalization and face the challenges of the digital transformation, women are disproportionately exposed to the negative effect of digitalization. The exponential spread of internet connectivity, online information and social media use, has given cyber violence against women a new platform. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), one in ten women have already experienced a form of cyber violence since the age of 15.
Women are increasingly targeted in the cyber space in different ways, from cyber stalking to gender-based harassment, amongst others. As the digital public space needs to be a safe and empowering place for everyone, the issue of cyber violence needs to be urgently addressed. The European Union is actively addressing this problem, including via its recent proposal combating violence against women and domestic violence. Moreover, some of the recently proposed policy tools on the EU level contribute to improving our digital ecosystem and mitigate many risks that women are exposed to online today. These include the Cyber Resilience Act, the Digital Services Act, the Code of Conduct on Hate Speech or the Code of Practice on Disinformation. However, not only European regulators, but also those who develop and provide technology have a role to play in ensuring that digital products and services have a safety and cybersecurity by design approach, as well as in developing an inclusive technology.
Conversations Unscripted will bring together participants from civil society, policy-making circles and the tech sector in a debate on how to make cyber space safer for all, and for women in particular.
Register to join this roundtable table at Microsoft’s Brussels office!