Talk Online Misoginy, Pakistan

From Gender and Tech Resources

Title Online misogyny and hate/violent speech against women on internet.
Category Privacy Advocacy Gender and Tech
Start 2015/09/05
End 2015/09/05
Hours 3
Scale Lahore, Pakistan
Geolocalization 31° 32' 40", 74° 23' 58"
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Organisation Digital Rights Foundation and The last word library

Target audience Women and Man interested in stopping online misogyny and tackling gender based online violence
Number of participants 30
Context and motivations A Call To Action: Online Misogyny in Pakistan, and How to Combat It: A discussion with Susan Benesch of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Nighat Dad of Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan and Nabiha Meher Shaikh of Pakistan Feminist Watch.

This last week, the spectre of misogyny vomited its vitriol all over social media. However, this time many women (and some men) chose to fight back. What followed was a pattern of abuse that has become a trademark of online misogyny: slut shaming, rape threats, and abuse directed towards women in general.

Whilst many online misogynists attempt to defend their hate under the banner of free speech, ultimately its effect is to shrink safe spaces available to women. This discussion aims to address questions about not just making the internet more women-friendly, but also creating female-dominated space online in the form of counter-culture.

Topics VAW, online misogyny, trolling, gender based on line violence, internet rights, privacy

Storify for those who couldn't attend in person

"We organised an event in Lahore on online Misogyny. As soon as one of the speakers mentioned gamergate & as soon this was tweeted, she started getting massively attacked by GamerGate trolls - A brilliant example as to how women are much more likely to be severely harassed in online spaces than men.

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Agenda The Last Word bookshop and Digital Rights Foundation recently collaborated on a discussion session held at the Last Word in Lahore, Pakistan, to help develop an understanding – and increase awareness of – the dangers of unchecked online harassment. The session, “A Call To Action: Online Misogyny in Pakistan, and How to Combat it”, was announced in response to a disturbing rise in online misogyny and gender-based cyber-harassment. According to Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency, 3,027 cases of cybercrime were reported in the the period between August 2014 and August 2015, with 45% of the cases being related to cyber-harassment on social media against women.

Aysha Raja, owner of the Last Word, compering the event. On her right are Nabiha Meher Shaikh and Susan Benesch

The recent misogyny and hyper-jingoism on display last week ( highlighted how important it is to tackle misogyny, and to examine the behaviours that give rise to it. The alarming frequency with which online harassment (which often bleeds out into real world “offline” harassment, or worse) has led to much needed public discourse – not just on recognising that the danger is real, but also to come up with proactive solutions to counter such behaviour. There are signs of understanding – the DRF/Last Word session, for example, saw a good turnout, with many men not only in attendance, but also contributing to the discussion in a mostly positive manner.

Susan Benesch of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard University, and founder of the Dangerous Speech Project, “to find ways of diminishing inflammatory speech – and its capacity to inspire violence - while protecting freedom of expression.”

Nabiha Meher Sheikh, Co-founder of Pakistan Feminist Watch, and an instructor in Critical Thinking

Jahanzaib Haque, Chief Digital Strategist and Editor at

Nighat Dad, Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation


We have collected the live-tweets of the session in Storify, for those unable to attend. The link can be found here. Dawn's coverage of the session.

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