‘Gender trolling’ is curbing women’s rights – and making money for digital platforms

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

February 28, 2023

‘Gender trolling’ is curbing women’s rights – and making money for digital platforms


Female politicians from around the world face torrents of online abuse. Top row, left to right: Manuela d’Ávila, Diane Abbott, Esther Passaris; bottom row: Sanna Marin, Julia Gillard, Nicola Sturgeon and Priyanka Chaturvedi. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell, A

Online hate has become a tool of the right and a lucrative business. It’s driving women out of public life, putting democracy and human rights at risk

Listening to the resignation speech of Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon this week, it was impossible not to think of the all-too similar words from former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern just a few weeks earlier.

Politicians are humans, too, as Sturgeon and Ardern reminded us, but the abuse women face online – greater and more vicious than that faced by male politicians – seem to dehumanise them, leaving some to wonder if the problem is a reflection of millennia-old misogyny, or an issue with technology.

Monetizing Misogyny, the study released this week by #ShePersisted, is the result of more than two years of research into the patterns and motives of gendered disinformation in several countries. It provides new insights into this question as well as a clear answer: the problem lies less in the misogyny per se than in its weaponisation by dark actors – and monetisation by digital platforms.

Click here to read the full article published by The Guardian on 17 February 2023.

Lucina Di Meco
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