16 Days Of Activism

16 Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign that calls for an end to violence against women and girls.

Girls and young people are leading the fight for gender equality and safety through digital activism – but they must be better protected from abuse, lies and harassment in Australia’s new online privacy bill.

Girl-led activism has become a necessary force for gender equality – especially in online spaces – according to a new report by Plan International.

The 2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report has found that in the wake of COVID-19 and the ongoing restrictions of movement, it is digital media fueling girls’ activism as they fight for gender equality and against violence.

But there’s an urgent need to regulate social media companies. Online gender-based violence and the spread of harmful information creates a hostile environment for girls. Fear, threats and discrimination online cannot be a rite of passage for girls growing up in a digital world.

Our Youth Activists have urgently called on the Government and social media companies to do more, to create safer spaces for young people online.

Online Privacy Code

Currently, an important Bill is being drafted by the Australian Government which provides a green light to start drafting a new Online Privacy Code. A new Australian Code will regulate social media companies such as Facebook and Tik Tok in Australia and help protect the privacy and safety of children and young people on social media platforms.

At the moment, there is a risk that social media companies themselves will have the power to draft the Online Privacy Code to regulate themselves. We know there are too many risks associated with this. There is also no requirement in the Bill that children and young people need to be consulted.

We need to ensure the Bill does not give social media companies this power. We need to make sure this Bill is informed by the experiences and the insights of children and young people.

Thank you to our supporters who made submissions on this new Bill in December 2021. As activists and allies we have important work to do to make sure young people, especially girls and young women in all their diversities, have their voices heard and their rights protected by the Code.

Stay tuned for further updates! If the Bill is passed, the Government will begin drafting the new Code.

16 Days Of Activism

Our research

The reports ‘Future Online’ and ‘The Truth Gap’ from this year highlight the ways in which girls and young women in all their diversities face harassment and misinformation online and the real impacts this has on their well-being.

In two of the biggest surveys on online safety worldwide, 65% of Australian girls and young women aged 15-25 have been exposed to a spectrum of online violence (compared to the global figure of 58%), and half of those who have experienced harassment have suffered mental and emotional distress as a result.

One in five girls said that misinformation online had left them feeling physically unsafe.

Our Youth Activists have urgently called on the Government and social media companies to do more, to create safer spaces for young people online.

What is 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence?

The 16 Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

It was started by activists at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to provide a spotlight every year for campaigns working to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence.

We often think of violence as a physical act causing physical harm. But for girls around the world, violence has many faces. It can be subtle and not easily recognised but still deeply damaging.

“The Australian government needs to step up and improve education and legislation surrounding online safety. In comparison to other countries, Australia’s online safety legislation is behind the curve. As technology rapidly develops and social media giants create new ways of engaging online, Australian legislation must advance.”
  • – Siena, YAS 2021, Freedom Online Report

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