Action needed to tackle misogyny and gender hate online, say academics

Action needed to tackle misogyny and gender hate online, say academics

Experts are gathering at the University of Sussex this week for a two-day conference debating misogyny and gender hate online.

Organiser and Doctoral Researcher in Law at the University of Sussex, María Rún Bjarnadóttir , says: “Misogynistic speech is not a new phenomenon but social media and the internet have changed its scope and distribution. In light of current debates around sexual harassment in Westminster and Hollywood it is timely to consider the policy approaches needed to deal with it.

“Reports and studies show that acts that could be considered online abuse affect women disproportionately. Further, certain forms of abuse, like image-based sexual abuse, are directed at women in the vast majority of cases.

“We need to find out why this is happening and how we can solve it. Opinion making, journalism, and public debate now predominantly take place online. If online abuse - call it hate, threats, or misogyny - is holding women back from full political and civic engagement we will not have a gender equality problem on our hands, but a democratic one. That is not only damaging for women, but all of us.”

The event will bring together experts from a wide variety of disciplines, from law and sociology to media studies and youth and social work. International stakeholders from the Danish Institute for Human Rights and UK stakeholders from the Nottingham Women’s Centre have been invited, as well as participants working for the Police.

Presentations will focus on:

  • Online misogyny in a legal context
  • Policy approaches to image-based sexual abuse
  • ‘Lad culture’ and banter online
  • Misogyny and street harassment

Taking place from Thursday 2nd to Friday 3rd November, the event has been organized by the Sussex Centre for Gender Studies , and is supported by the Sussex Humanities Lab , the Sussex Information Law Group , and the Equality and Diversity Forum.