Report: Online harassment is the biggest issue Pakistani women are facing

MMfD's report is titled “The Internet as we see it: Gendered perceptions from Pakistan”.

 

  • MMfD’s report reveals that online harassment is the biggest hindrance for women in digital spaces. 
  • The report highlighted trends in internet usage in Pakistan. 
  • It also highlighted the difference between how trends are influenced by gender difference and men and women navigate digital spaces.

Research by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) highlights that women presence of Pakistani women in the digital space is greatly influenced by online harassment. The report, titled “The Internet as we see it: Gendered perceptions from Pakistan”, dug out how internet usage is affected by different genders. 

The study found out that while both men and women agreed that internet has its benefits like it is more direct connectivity mean of transfer of knowledge and provides more transparent access to information, both gender disagreed on the subjects of online harassment and restrictions. Women particularly complain about restrictions on online expression.

To collect data about the study, MMfD conducted eight focus group sessions in Karachi and Islamabad. The study was focused on studying Internet perceptions across gender. Majority of the attendees understood data privacy and surveillance but agreed that general awareness about these subjects lacked.

“Many believe that awareness and understanding of these issues in the general users in Pakistan is somewhat low, but it was really interesting to see a rather deep understanding of these issues in Pakistani user base,” said the co-author of the mentioned study Amel Ghani.

Women are more prone to online harassment

The report from DRF (Digital Rights Foundation) revealed that the platform where women were most likely to be harassed was Facebook. 29% of the registered complaints were related to the popular social networking site.

However, the recent complaints also indicated that women were harassed on WhatsApp as well in the form of scams and inappropriate messages. During the span of the last 6 months, the helpline saw an increase in these complaints from 2.6 percent to 9.5 percent.

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