International Day of the Girl: Forging Intergenerational Engagements on Online Safety for Women in Media

Women and girls are more likely to become victims of cybercrimes. Doxxing, trolling, dissing, outing, and stalking are just some of the forms of harassment women are susceptible to online. As a global catastrophe, cyber harassment could lead to depression.

In partnership with the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) foundation in partnership with Baraza Media Lab hosted the Online Safety for Women Forum. With an audience made up of tech experts, journalists, influencers, and stakeholders in Media and Communications, the forum provided a platform for meaningful conversations about online violence across different generations of women in media.

According to Baraza Media Lab’s Programme Manager, June Injete, changes in the media landscape have brought about new opportunities, but at the same time presented new challenges, hence the importance of intergenerational discussions on the current and future state of work in media.

“What women in media were facing 20 years ago, is not necessarily the same thing that women in media today are experiencing,” she said, “it’s important for women of all ages to be able to describe their challenges online so that we can make targeted efforts to address these specific challenges. When we have such forums and we’re able to interact with women across different ages, we can act from a point of knowledge by applying solutions that will actually have the desired impact for all.”

As part of ongoing initiatives for digital literacy and safety among journalists, Patience Nyange, Executive Director for the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), presented the ‘Digital Safety & Security’ handbook. The handbook breaks down digital jargon like malware, phishing, social engineering, spoofing, and more. It also contains a section on how violence against female journalists manifests online, and mitigation measures.

Yet another speaker at the forum was award-winning journalist Lourdes Walusala, who shared her experience encountering online violence after publishing work connected to sexual and reproductive health rights. Lourdes highlighted that issues faced by women offline have now taken shape online, and urged female journalists not to self-censor in spite of the backlash. As a mitigation measure from her experience, she noted that support groups can help women deal with trolls. In her experience, she shared the posts with her network, who rallied behind as a group to report and call out the trolls online.

Journalist Lourdes Walusala presenting the psychosocial effects of online violence

Finally, Laura Tich, co-founder of SheHacks KE, a community of women in cybersecurity presented different tools and tips to stay safe online. Part of these include using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), password managers and two-factor authentification, as well as safety measures like avoiding signing up on random websites using one’s primary email. Instead, have different emails so as to protect the main email address that is connected to bank details and other crucial personal information.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *