• Sheet of paper Report

Briefing: Gender and Human Rights in the Digital Age

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: A guest wears white and yellow sunglasses, gold large earrings, a black with mange print pattern t-shirt, beige / brown / khaki military print pattern cargo pants, outside Jason Wu, during New York Fashion Week, on September 10, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
(Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

The growing incursion of technology into more areas of public life has troubling implications that uniquely impact women and LGBTQI+ people. Groups who have historically faced discrimination may rely more heavily on the services, communication infrastructure, and opportunity for community that are made possible by technology.

However, growing poverty and pervasive forms of gender-based violence around the world often place women and LGBTQI+ people in a double bind, whereby they may rely more on technology while simultaneously facing more human rights violations as a result of its use, including violations of the rights to privacy, equality and non-discrimination, health, social protection, and more.

It is vital to understand tech-facilitated gender-based discrimination as part of a continuum of harms that are perpetrated against women and LGBTQI+ people in both online and offline spaces. This discrimination is rooted in and reproduces historical power asymmetries and associated harmful gender norms and stereotypes, exacerbating gender inequality around the world.

This briefing is intended as a primer for activists, researchers, civil society organizations, and others who are seeking to understand and address gender discrimination and its various intersections with technology across a variety of issues.

Ultimately, an intersectional approach to gender, technology, and inequality is essential to building strategies to work toward reparations and redress for communities impacted by the human rights violations made possible by technology. In areas including data privacy, technology access, social protection, health care, access to work, and safety online, gender identity uniquely impacts the rights and well-being of women and LGBTQI+ people. Policymakers, stakeholders, and communities should work to create and enact rights-respecting policies that address the intersectional forms of oppression presented by technology.