Women should be heard and safe both online and offline

During this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) eSafety is elevating women’s voices to encourage safer online interactions. 

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global movement to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.

The over-representation of online abuse towards women reflects broader gender inequalities in society. eSafety is committed to addressing gender inequality and empowering women to be safe online as well as offline.

Here are six ways women and girls can have a safer and more positive experience online.

  1. Manage the voices you engage with 
    You can control what you see and hear online. Conversation controls help you manage your social media feeds so they’re a more positive place for you to spend time with your online community. 

    Check out the available conversation controls for some popular social media platforms:

    For other apps and to learn how to mute, block or unfollow people to minimise the harm of online abuse, check out The eSafety Guide

  2. Update your security and privacy settings
    It’s a good idea to regularly check security and privacy settings. eSafety recommends using different, strong passwords for each online account and sign out when you’re finished. Two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication) can be added for extra protection. Your answers to security questions should be things that no one else can learn. Find out more about how to secure your accounts in our how-to videos.

    Take a moment to check the privacy settings on all your devices and apps. Social media sites have privacy settings to help you control who sees your posts. You can also adjust your settings to manage who can send friend requests. Check out The eSafety Guide for more information on privacy settings. 

  3. Take charge of your location settings
    Location settings are important for map apps and all types of technology, but they can also be used to track women - with an intent to cause harm. You can choose when and who to share your location with. Remember, social media apps and Bluetooth technology, that’s used for sharing files and connecting to devices, can also track your location.

    You can turn these features off when you don’t feel safe. Find out more about location settings.

  4. Make it a habit to collect evidence of online abuse
    Our research shows that women typically downplay online abuse, especially when they experience it as part of their working lives. You can change this by collecting evidence of the online abuse you receive and this will help others to help you. 

    Build your confidence and find out how to take a screenshot and save a URL - which you can use to report online abuse. eSafety offers step-by-step guidance on collecting evidence if digital technology is being used in an abusive or threatening way. Although it is important to collect evidence, it is even more important to stay safe. Make sure evidence is only collected when you feel it is safe to do so.

  5. Raise your voice about online abuse
    Online abuse should always be reported to the relevant platforms and, depending on the level of harm, you can also report to eSafety or the police.

    Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites have community rules to follow. If you or someone you know sees something that’s not respectful, you can anonymously make a report and ask the site to remove it. Find out more about the choices you have in reporting online abuse. 

  6. Get involved with 16 Days of Activism 

    Hosted by the Australian Mission to the EU, this virtual international event – Violence against women online: Impact of gender equality and women’s participation in public life – will feature Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner; Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality; and Kate Jenkins, Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

    Women increasingly experience online harassment and abuse in their workplace. This harassment is often sexualised and based on appearance, and it can rapidly become violent. 

    The Commissioners will talk about Australian and EU commitments to gender equality, with a focus on how to stop online violence against women, and how to protect and promote their voices online. Find out more and register for the event.

    • Follow @eSafety Women on Twitter and be part of the 16 Days conversation on social media via #16DaysOfActivism. During the campaign, eSafety will amplify women’s voices through daily tips, information and research on social media.

eSafety is not just committed to raising awareness and accountability during 16 Days of Activism. We help all Australians day in and day out - 365 days of the year - to have a safe and positive experience online.

Find out more about technology-facilitated abuse, professional development opportunities, Women In The Spotlight, our resources for women and how to report online abuse