4. Key Documents

The resources in this section are the most useful resources relevant to the gender digital divide, particularly looking at the individual use of mobile and the Internet.

Resource 1: Understanding the Risks of Women and ICT

Association for Progressive Communications (APC) – Gender and ICT

APC has been working and researching in the gender and ICT risk space for over 15 years, and has published a wide range of research and case studies. They have also designed a range of tools to sup- port women to respond to technology-facilitated GBV, including country maps for reporting cases, a  digital security first aid kit for human rights defenders, and a set of feminist principles of the Internet.

European Institute For Gender Equality (EIGE) – Cyberviolence Against Women and Girls

This desk review from EIGE gives a good summary of technology-facilitated GBV in particular, looking at existing research and gaps in the research as well as best practices. While it is EU-focused, a lot of the patterns and recommendations can be applied to other contexts.

Girl Effect – Girl Safeguarding Policy

This guide lays out guidance on how to protect girls who are using the digital tools provided by development practitioners. It includes a set of principles that keep girls and their privacy, security, and safety at the center of all digital development. The guide outlines how to approach digital initiatives and programs involving girls, to ensure that any risks are mitigated and planned for.

International Center for Research on Women – Technology-Facilitated GBV

The ICRW has been conducting a lot of research in this space, and they offer a framework for understanding technology-facilitated GBV, as well as a guide on how to measure it.

Privacy International – Gender and Surveillance

Privacy International researches and publishes data and reports on gender and privacy. They have a particular focus on the link between women’s and girls’ health and surveillance.

Social Development Direct – Harnessing Technology to Prevent, Mitigate and Respond to Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies

This comprehensive desk review gives an overview of the current literature, data, and evidence of risks associated with women and girls using ICT and the Internet. It also includes best practices and risk mitigation strategies, case studies of digital products and projects, and a list of key resources.

UN Women – Online and ICT-Facilitated Violence Against Women and Girls During Covid-19

This short brief is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, but many of the issues it raises are also relevant in other contexts. It offers a brief overview of the issues, information on key organizations and services, and suggested responses by governments, women’s organizations, and platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.

Box 1. Measurement Challenges in Researching the Risks of ICT for Women

There is very little national data available on ICT risks, and, to date, no standardized metrics.  The 2019 EQUALS report states:

“Globally, data is not systematically collected on most gender issues related to risks. Most indicators . . . are conceptually unclear, lack an established methodology, or are not regularly collected by countries. There is also limited rigorous qualitative or quantitative research on a wide range of issues and contexts, such as negative and unintended consequences of gender-based initiatives.”1

Resource 2: Digital Literacy Toolkits and Resources

GSMA – Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit

The GSMA Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit has been designed for mobile-first contexts, and it includes a section on navigating risks. Using a “train the trainer” approach, it consists of short lessons in a PDF format that can be easily adapted to local needs and languages, along with some video content. It has also been adapted successfully to be used with women and girls: for example, by SHEVA, Tigo, and EduMe in Guatemala, to deliver Internet skills training to women and girls via their mobile phones. Languages available: English, French, Swahili, Hindi, Bengali, Kinyarwanda. Some videos available in Yoruba, Dendi, Fon, and Nago

Internet Saathi – Helping Women Get Online

These short, highly visual lessons are designed for women and girls using mobile and mobile Internet. The lessons are designed for a smartphone, but they could be adapted for groups or classes or for different platforms. Topics covered include basic smartphone use, using the Internet, using apps, saving documents, sending emails, and using chat. Lessons use demos with step-by-step instructions. Learners also have the option to turn audio on, to listen to the instructions. Languages available: English, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu. All languages available for both written and audio versions

Mozilla – Women and Literacy Resources

Mozilla’s Women and Web Literacy Program is a “community of allies, executives, and young leaders who are actively advancing the principles of the open Internet” and actively focusing on women and girls. They  have a wide variety of resources, including Teaching Kits on cyberviolence, sexting, hacking, and online abuse. They also have resources for setting up ICT and digital literacy clubs for women, including advice on venue, facilitators, and activity ideas. Languages available: English

Resource 3: Digital Risks, Safety, and Security Toolkits and Documents

For Users and their Networks (Parents, Guardians, Teachers)

Access Now – Digital Security Helpline

This 24/7 helpline, staffed by real people, offers support and advice to activists to help them strengthen their digital security practices. It works with individuals and organizations around the world to keep them safe online. If callers or users are at risk, Access Now can help them improve their digital security practices to keep out of harm’s way. If users are already under attack, Access Now provides rapid-response emergency assistance. Languages available: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Arabic, Italian        

Chayn – Do-It-Yourself Online Safety Guide

This guide is a user-friendly, step-by-step guide for women and girls to stay safe online. It is designed to be used by learners themselves, but it could be adapted. It offers practical advice and examples on how to mitigate risks when online — for example, setting passwords, using secure browsers, and staying safe on social media. Languages available: English, French, Urdu, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Farsi, Italian, Pashto  

Cybersmile Foundation – Help Center

This online resource offers help and advice on a diverse range of topics related to online risks for women and girls. These include revenge porn, cyberbullying, and online security. It also has a section for parents. Languages available: English

Internews – Safe Sisters Toolkit

This toolkit is designed specifically for women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa. It tries to make digital security less complicated and more relevant to real users, and to encourage all women and girls to take online safety into their own hands. It follows a character named Aisha while she learns about keeping safe online and how to protect herself. Languages available: English

Take Back the Tech – Guide on Identifying Online Abuse

This guide helps users identify if a friend or relative is the victim of online abuse, with guidance on how to report it. It also covers topics such as digital security. Take Back the Tech has a wide variety of related resources about cyberstalking, hate speech, and privacy. Languages available: English, French, Spanish

vpnMENTOR – Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women

This guide aims to teach women and girls to navigate the Internet without risk or fear. It covers common occurrences in which women and girls are subject to harassment in their daily lives—on social media, at work, while dating, and more—and gives tips and advice on how female users can take control. Languages available: English

For Lawmakers, Judges, and People in Legal Systems

Tech Safety – Resources for Technology and GBV and Violence

This set of resources has materials for different stakeholders using ICT in the GBV arena. These include:  toolkits for judges and people working in judicial systems to understand laws and recourse mechanisms; toolkits for people working in legal systems, such as law enforcement or attorneys; and toolkits for developing digital services to support victims of GBV. Languages available: English

For Activists, Campaigners, and Women’s Organizations

Fix the Glitch – Toolkit for Activists

This toolkit is designed to support those who want to help end online abuse but might not know where to begin: organizations, individuals, or activists who want to become involved in mitigating risks. It has practical advice on mitigation strategies and how to raise awareness, and how to facilitate convening sessions on online abuse and how to tackle it. Languages available: English

Fix the Glitch – Workshop and Training Resources for Activists and Public Figures

These workshop and training materials are for training sessions tailored to women engaged in (or considering) leadership roles, public appointments, or other forms of public life and activism, who wish to have an online presence. They cover such topics as documenting online abuse, creating a digital resilience action plan, and how to campaign on social media (in the form of a handbook). Languages available: English

Gender and Technology Institute – Tactical Tech

This is a toolkit combining training curriculum and activities for privacy and digital security, aimed at adults—specifically, organizations or activists. Taking a feminist perspective, it includes workshop outlines, notes for facilitators, and stand-alone activities for specific issues (such as hate speech and data protection). Languages available: English, Spanish, Portuguese

Hernet – Activist Toolkit

This toolkit is for activists, to teach them about Internet security to empower women on the Internet and combat male cyberviolence. It offers an overview of potential issues activists might face as well as steps they can take—for example, recourse mechanisms. It also contains links to other useful toolkits produced by various organizations and groups. Languages available: English

For Researchers, Policy Makers, and Other Stakeholders

Article 19 – Hate Speech Toolkit

This toolkit provides guidance on identifying hate speech, and how governments and other actors can take action to counter it. It is not gender-specific, but because the vast majority of hate speech is gender-related, many of the principles here can be adapted for a gender lens. Languages available: English, Russian, Spanish, Myanmar (Burmese), Kazakh

IFES – Social Media Analysis Tool for Measuring Online Violence Against Women in Elections

This tool offers an adaptable method for researchers, organizations, and policymakers to identify trends and patterns of online violence against women during electoral periods. It uses artificial intelligence-based data analysis tools, and it quantifies and categorizes the social media data to identify and distinguish forms of online violence. Languages available: English, Spanish, French, Arabic  

  • 1. Taking stock: Data and evidence on gender equality in digital access, skills, and leadership. EQUALS, 2019. United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society/International Telecommunications Union. Available at www.itu. int/en/action/gender-equality/Documents/EQUALS%20Research%20Report%202019.pdf