Social media in the lives of women

Today‘s era is the era of social media whose presence and active involvement has swiftly and widely spread the ideologies for women empowerment. Social media has become the agent of social change which helped and supported women‘s empowerment in various aspects such as mobilizing attention of global community towards women‘s rights and challenges and stereotypes across the globe. Social media has given platform to discuss issues and challenges of women through blogs, chats, online campaign, online discussion forums, and online communities which is mostly not disseminated or propagated by mainstream media.


Curbing violence against women

  • Internet and social media can enable activists and others to challenge myths and stereotypes as well as create new forums for the perpetuation of violence against women.
  • Social media is a strong platform to discuss and share views, experiences to channelize hashtag movementsto stop sexual violence and discrimination against women.
  • It is a new frontier to organise campaign or rally by women‘s rights activists to come forward and fight for gender justice.
  • Through social media, women across the globe are connectedand supporting each other such as lawmakers, politicians, business owners for gender equality.
  • Twitter’s hashtag function in particular allows women to easily follow issues that matter to them and forge coalitions based upon shared concerns, from immediate personal needs to calls for large-scale social change. E.g: #MeToo movement, #SelfieWithDaughter


Challenges faced by women on social media

  • Women are the most vulnerable to cyber abuse like online harassment.
  • Increased attention of women in social media often makes them the target of repressive activities. This results in gendered barriers for women online as in public places.
  • Online offences are often normalised due to the difficulty in tracing offenders and the complexity and inaccessibility of the justice delivery mechanisms. This creates mistrust of the public towards the justice system, leading to the further marginalisation of women.
  • In this backdrop, social media has become a tool for the rapists to threaten their victims to not report the crime. Such platforms are used by harassers to silence women who strive to break the misogynistic social norms.
  • A study revealed that a third of the surveyed women stopped opinionating online due to the fear of abusers.
  • Online trolling is now going beyond the digital realm, leading to cases like suicides.
  • An international survey found that 20% of women being harassed offline believe that those attacks were connected to online abuse they receive.
  • Some are even vulnerable to stalkers because of their online presence. This is especially prevalent in regions where law enforcement is weak, patriarchy is strong and online trolling is commonplace.
  • Fake profiles are often created for sullying victims’ reputation.
  • With the worldwide restrictions due to the pandemic pushing more people online, cases of online gender abuse have escalated.


Measures needed:

  • Government level:
    • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal shall be designated as the national portal under reporting requirements in the POCSO Act in case of electronic material.
    • Union Government shall be empowered through its designated authority to block and/or prohibit all websites/intermediaries that carry child sexual abuse material.
    • Law enforcement agencies should be permitted to brake end to end encryption to trace distributors of child pornography.
  • Use of Artificial intelligence:
    • Tools can be developed which can analyse the behaviour of every internet user. So it can help prevent the user from falling into cyber bullying.
    • Developing some mobile applications that can alert parents if the child is under threat of cyber bullying.
    • Prevent malware attacks by tying up with antivirus agencies.
  • Multipronged approach to handle cases:
    • Need to handle the cases of cyber bullying through multipronged approach such as counselling through Psychiatrist, approaching police, etc.