Hosted by the Australia Government on 4 March 2013, the side event ‘Using new technology to address violence against women and girls’, discussed the perils and potential of new technology in addressing violence against women. Panellists included the Hon. Julie Collins, Australian Minister for the Status of Women; AWAVA’s Chair, Julie Oberin; Hon. Lulu Xingwana, South African Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities and Cliona Saidlear, Policy and Communications Director at Ireland’s Rape crisis network.
All panellists provided examples of how social media is being used to raise awareness of violence against women, provide education and as a tool to change attitudes. Minister Collins discussed the federal government initiative www.theline.gov.au – an online forum that provides young Australians with a forum for respectful discussions about violence against women. Cliona described social media as a vehicle for “democratization of the conversation” and provided examples of blogs and online campaigns that have encouraged public discourse about violence against women. Hon. Xingwana discussed South Africa’s cyber safety campaign that allows people to interact and share information about violence against women via online social networks.
Julie encouraged a fearless approach to technology – so that women understand how technology and social media can be used. This will enable women to protect themselves from the potential harms of technology while maximizing the potential benefits.
Report by Aimee McVeigh – AWAVA CSW57 delegation