EWL News

Democracy in the Digital Space: European Women’s Lobby invited to Helsinki

[Brussels, 7 May 2019]

On Monday 6 May 2019, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) at the invitation of the Swedish Women’s Association of Finland to provide a key note speech at the event Vinnare och förlorare i ett digitaliserat Europa (Winners and Losers in a Digitalised Europe)

During the event, participants heard from EWL with specific focus on our work to combat the issue of online violence against women and girls, which greatly affects women’s participation in the political space. Policy and Campaigns Officer Asha Allen, presented the reality of the experiences of millions of women and girl across Europe; women remain 27 times more likely to experience online harassment and 51% of young women are hesitant to engage in discussion on social media due to the abuse they face.

Policy and Campaigns Officer Asha Allen

As our political spaces become more digitalised and online public spaces continue to expand, EWL presented the challenges faced in achieving parity democracies and equal representation in Europe when women are systematically abused, harassed and silenced online. Discussions at the event highlighted the consequences of violence and the failures of European and national justice systems when women and girls attempt to seek justice.

This interactive session was followed by a panel discussion of five European election candidate who discussed how they will prioritise the issue of online violence against women and girls. Candidates Anna Jungner-Nordgren, Ida-Maria Skytte, Silja Borgarsdottir Sandelin, Bjorn Bonsdorff and Catharina von Schoultz committed to support initiatives in eradicating online violence against women and seeing the development of safe online spaces for all women and girls

European Political Candidates discuss online violence against women

This important event concluded with a powerful intervention by Finnish MP Eva Biaudet of the Swedish People’s Party. MP Biaudet shared her personal experiences of online violence as a prominent woman in the political space and encouraged the recognition of deliberate actions of silencing women, “online violence against women and girls is never innocent”. She also called on her political colleagues to recognise that online violence against women and girls includes the use of digital spaces to facilitate prostitution, sexual exploitation and trafficking in human beings.

MP Eva Biaudet

The EWL takes this opportunity to thank our Finnish colleagues for organising such a crucial event and calls on the European Union and all member states to recognise online violence against women as a cyber-crime, supported by adequate legislative and punitive measures.

Let us revolutionise our online communities and create a safe digital space for all women and girls!

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Loud and United to end violence against women and girls, European Women’s Lobby Conference, 6 December 2017, Brussels.

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