Violence Against Women in Elections Online: A Social Media Analysis Tool

Two women each use a smartphone.

Social media has transformed politics, opening space for dialogue and creating new pathways for citizen involvement and education. Political engagement has also been plagued by the misuse and abuse of new information communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs have created new vehicles for violence against women in elections (VAWIE), which are compounded by the anonymity and scale that online media platforms provide.

We need to understand the scope, shape and impact of this new form of violence in order to prevent and end it. A new tool from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) offers an adaptable method to measure the gendered aspects and understand the drivers of this violence. The VAWIE-Online Social Media Analysis Tool can be used by actors from across a range of professions who are concerned by hateful and violent speech online and are motivated to end it.

This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID’s Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS). The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Established in 1995, CEPPS pools the expertise of three international organizations dedicated to democratic development: IFES, the International Republican Institute and NDI. CEPPS has a 20-year track record of collaboration and leadership in democracy, human rights and governance support, learning from experience, and adopting new approaches and tools based on the ever-evolving technological landscape.