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Building Blocks for OGBV Accountability 

Web Foundation · September 21, 2022

Through the engagement with civil society, tech companies and government stakeholders, we identified six core building blocks that are required for greater OGBV accountability. All of the building blocks complement and reinforce each other while looking for “solutions beyond women self censoring”, which is an increasing trend in the face of increasing OGBV. Many individuals, communities and organizations are already working across these building blocks to improve OGBV accountability.

Regulation and Enforcement Mechanisms

Regulatory bodies play a crucial role in placing clearer duties on tech companies and broader internet intermediaries to increase transparency and protect women and gender diverse people online. To do this, they need to acknowledge and respond to OGBV specifically, including amending existing legislations through a gender lens as well as environments that allow for OGBV (i.e. weak or non-existing Data Protection regulation). Equally important is the establishment of effective and fair enforcement mechanisms that are grounded in principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Public Awareness and Scrutiny

Establishing an enabling social and cultural environment is fundamental to achieving greater OGBV accountability where people are duly informed on the role they play in fighting against the culture of impunity surrounding OGBV. Leveraging the power of the people to act as a watchdog can be done through citizen/investigative journalism, research, campaigning and media coverage that are representative of women in all their diversity.

Influencing Business Models

As profit-driven entities, tech companies are influenced and incentivised by market dynamics. These can be leveraged for greater accountability through for example, increasing peer competition between tech companies, or incorporating a gender-lens into due diligence or investment criteria.

Forums for Multi-Sector Collaboration

To strengthen existing and new links across sectors and establish forums for collaboration can lead to increased understanding and trust. These networks help organizations to hold each other to account, and support the collective drive towards change.

Transparency and Data

The lack of data sharing and transparency from tech companies is a huge barrier to accountability and progress on OGBV. To monitor progress, common standards and principles for transparency and data sharing need to be established across national and regional levels. This includes a common data platform for OGBV with clear indicators and metrics for measurement.

Digital Literacy and Citizenship

Increasing accountability on OGBV also requires individuals to have an increased level of digital literacy and behave as digital citizens, holding each other to account on their online behaviours and interactions. Governments and tech companies have a responsibility to prioritise investment into digital literacy and citizenship programmes, to support communities to meaningfully participate on their platforms without putting the onus of safety on them. Much of this work is currently happening in the non-profit sector without appropriate investment. 

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