The Internet is an empowering, enabling platform of seemingly limitless opportunities. It has the proven potential to flatten hierarchies, dismantle barriers and create symmetries of rights. It has emerged as a compelling instrument for building hopes, capacities and spaces for women – hopes, capacities and spaces that are not always possible in the physical world.
Yet, there are barriers for women who seek to explore the Internet with all that it can offer, or sometimes to simply get online. On social media, and elsewhere, safety concerns bother women, inhibiting their online journey and placing a whole host of challenges – from stalking to photo morphing, to self-harm and impact on mental well-being. Even before that, however, there is simply the issue of access. Data plans and Net access at home, like so much else in the household, does tend to have a male-child preference.
How can the Internet community, using technology as a force multiplier, address such issues? And how can all of us, as online natives and stakeholders, come together to help?
This Facebook Dialogue is envisioned to be the first in a series and is dedicated to the theme of online safety. Facebook is inviting policymakers, civil society, activists, academicians, researchers and area experts to discuss how we can collectively make a difference.