Creating an environment where both men and women can freely navigate the digital space and benefit from it is still a challenge.
Through this year’s mentorship program, Women at Web Tanzania has seen it fit to include men in the movement of empowering and enhancing netizens with knowledge, accessibility to information, and opportunities while fighting against online gender-based violence.
Regarding knowledge, the digital space is an area with immense opportunities, such as online mentorship programs for both men and women. As a digital citizen, it is one’s responsibility to grab such opportunities and learn to increase their skills and develop new skills.
Why is it significant?
• It amplifies the voice of the voiceless; different groups in the space are not catered for, such as victims of Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV) who have not only experienced these challenges but have also not received any justification for such matters.
Whether it is a woman or man that has been a victim of OGBV, it is the responsibility of us as digital citizens to address it and create a safe space for others to flourish rather than it being termed as a dangerous place for a woman or a man to thrive, hence including both genders solidify and strengthen the efforts fighting against
• It encourages and supports measures that address online gender-based violence by identifying harassment and sexual and gender-based abuse against women and youth.
• Increases awareness about digital literacy and cyber violence through inclusive mentorship programs and training that center on safe spaces to acquire digital skills.
• It also helps to call upon decision-makers to enhance efficient policies on data privacy and internet connectivity.
• It helps highlight existing digital gaps, such as lack of smartphone accessibility and lack of internet connectivity, as well as addressing people living with disability who may have the necessary skills but fail to exploit the digital opportunities available because there are no supportive digital infrastructures that cater for their needs.
Women and men with a platform are responsible for advocating against online gender-based violence; they have the right to participate fully on different matters raised and discussed online; we need a vocal generation that can bridge the gender and digital inclusion gap, believing that well-equipped digital citizens will help eradicate misinformation and disinformation; what to keep in mind is that not all information found on social media is true.