On day three of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (GBV), GATE teamed up with the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy to discuss “technology-facilitated violence, abuse, and harassment” against women and other vulnerable groups.
Panel moderator Molly Thomas, a reporter for CTV News, YesTV and CPAC, began the conversation by defining a few terms for the audience (e.g. doxxing, sextortion, trolling, etc.) and encouraging the panelists to discuss why they’re passionate about preventing GBV online. This led Takara Small, Host and Producer of the The Globe and Mail podcast “I’ll Go First,” and Founder of VentureKids Canada, to explain some of the inherent issues with addressing GBV in tech, stating, “When there is any type of digital violence, it’s often against women and people of colour, and when you have men who are creating these technologies at these start-ups…they don’t often perceive or foresee that type of violence.” Later in the discussion, Nasma Ahmed, Director of the Digital Justice Lab, reiterated this point by saying, “Technology replicates systematic inequalities.”
Due to these biases and inequalities built into tech, the panelists felt the need not only to create awareness about this issue but also to play an active part in the development of new technology that incorporates more diverse perspectives.