For International Women’s Day 2023, the Chatham House cyber policy team debunk four common myths about gender, cyberspace, and cybersecurity.
The team outline why gender-specific harms do exist in cyberspace and that, in many ways, the online world mirrors the offline world. Also discrimination and prejudices that exist offline, also exist and are often amplified online. Women and girls are also often more likely to experience cyberstalking and online harassment.
Gender is also not synonymous with women, and it is important to remember that a white, cisgender man might experience cyberspace differently than, for example, a person of colour who is also trans. Therefore an intersectional approach is essential, as is understanding gender on a spectrum.
Cybersecurity is not just a technical issue but also a policy issue, equality issue, and a justice issue. Cybersecurity is informed by data, priorities, and people, and all of these contain biases which can be dangerously replicated and amplified.
Gender mainstreaming makes for better and more inclusive cyber policies, ones that can help better bridge digital divides and ensure the benefits of cyberspace are received securely and equitably by all.