All forms of sexual and gender-based violence, abuse, cyber-bullying and harassment are unacceptable and are an obstacle to a free and equal society. Technology has the potential to play an important role in advancing gender equality and empowering girls and women. However, the benefits offered may be undermined by the perpetuation of new forms of violence, abuse and harassment. Sexual and gender-based abuse, harassment and the threat of violence in digital contexts pose risks to the safety and well-being of its targets and can lead to self-censorship and disengagement from digital spaces at a time when these spaces increasingly animate our everyday life. All forms of violence, abuse and harassment can be significant barriers to closing the gender digital divide, to girls and women’s participation and to the development of digital skills. Girls and women are disproportionately affected by this violence, abuse and harassment. Those occupying positions of influence or defending human rights are at the forefront in addressing this growing problem and are often targeted, with a view to silencing their voices.
We, the Leaders of the G7, recognize the links between abuse, harassment and the threat of violence in a digital context and physical and psychological violence, abuse and harassment which are rooted in gender inequality. We strive for a future where the same human rights that individuals have offline are also protected online; and where everyone has equal opportunity to participate in political, social, economic, and cultural endeavors. We recognize the grave consequences that sexual and gender-based abuse, harassment and the threat of violence in digital contexts has for girls and women; and consistent with the G7 Roadmap for a Gender-responsive Economic Environment, we are committed to eliminating sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms.
To prevent and counter sexual and gender-based abuse, harassment and the threat of violence in digital contexts, we, the Leaders of the G7, commit to:
- Promote legal regimes, national anti-violence strategies, educational approaches and existing mechanisms, as appropriate, that keep pace with technological development.
- Work to strengthen sex and age-disaggregated data collection and publication, consistent with the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, so as not to further marginalize those at risk.
- Strengthen the effectiveness of existing and new violence, abuse and harassment prevention and response strategies at international, national and local levels, ensuring that they are informed by gender-based analysis.
- Support awareness-raising initiatives on the gravity of sexual and gender-based abuse, harassment and the threat of violence in digital contexts, as well as on their impacts on civic discourse and the enjoyment of human rights.
- Share approaches and support global efforts aimed at addressing gender inequality and at preventing and countering sexual and gender-based based abuse, harassment, violence and threat of violence in physical and digital contexts.
- Mobilize the international community, including through working with the private sector, civil society and women’s rights organizations, to develop strategies to improve prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based abuse, harassment and the threat of violence in digital contexts and learn lessons from current models of industry-government collaboration on emerging digital challenges.
- Encourage everyone, particularly men and boys, to speak out strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and discrimination.
- Work together to improve our responses to breaches in data privacy and the criminal misuse of online platforms and connected technologies. We will ensure the appropriate confidentiality of survivor information and promote efforts to educate law enforcement, judges and other legal actors.
- Coordinate efforts and share best practices on preventing the misuse of the internet to facilitate trafficking in persons, recognizing that girls and women make up the majority of victims and survivors of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
- Support removing gender biases in the development of digital platforms and connected technologies from design to end-use.