What you need to know:
- Girls and young women indicated they have faced online harassment or abuse on different social media platforms.
- The report also found that, in Europe, 63 per cent of girls reported harassment.
- Plan International’s CEO, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen said that girls are being silenced by a toxic level of harassment.
More than half of young women in Africa have been victims of online violence and abuse, says a new report.
The State of the World’s Girls Report says 58 per cent of respondents in Africa reported facing threats of sexual violence, racist comments, stalking and online harassment.
It warns that the widespread attacks could potentially drive a majority of girls out of social media platforms, which will undermine efforts to empower them.
Findings of the latest global survey in 22 countries by Plan International comes ahead of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child on October 11.
Girls and young women indicated they have faced online harassment or abuse on different social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Twitter.
The report also found that, in Europe, 63 per cent of girls reported harassment, 60 per cent in Latin America, 58 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region and 52 per cent in North America.
Some 14,000 women aged 15-25 from countries including Kenya, the United States, Thailand, India, Nigeria Brazil, Spain, Australia and Japan were interviewed for the survey.
“This year’s theme is, ‘My voice, our equal future’,” reads the official statement.
“Plan International, Save the Children and the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia jointly stand together with girls across the continent to seize opportunities to re-imagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls — energised and recognised, counted and invested in,” the statement adds.
The three organisations said that, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an additional burden placed on girls and a further erosion of the gains made in the fight for gender equality. Of the girls who have been harassed, 47 percent have been threatened with physical or sexual violence, while 59 percent faced abusive and insulting language online.
Plan International’s CEO, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen said that girls are being silenced by a toxic level of harassment.
“Driving girls out of online spaces is hugely disempowering in an increasingly digital world, and damages their ability to be seen, heard and become leaders.”
Among other tangible solutions the three organisations are calling on AU Member States to urgently ratify the Malabo Convention on Cyber security and put in measures to protect the safety of girls online.
Also to adequately resource state institutions that fight cybercrime as well as stronger and stricter legislations to hold perpetrators of online abuse to account.