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Regional forum addresses concerns on digital violence against women in MENA region

By Maria Weldali - Apr 22,2024 - Last updated at Apr 22,2024

The regional forum on digital violence against women, tackles various dimensions of tech-facilitated violence directed towards women in the MENA region on Sunday (Photo by Maria Weldali)

AMMAN — The regional forum on digital violence against women, tackled on Sunday various dimensions of tech-facilitated violence directed towards women in the MENA region.

Organised by the Canadian think-and-do tank SecDev, in cooperation with the Information and Research Centre – King Hussein Foundation, the forum, which is the first of its kind in the region, focused on Digital Violence Against Women (DVAW) in the MENA region, bringing together key stakeholders from across the region, including researchers, practitioners, international organisations and government officials.

During the two-day forum, the SecDev Foundation and its partners are to present the research and other publications which were supported by the International Development Research Centre of Canada.

Over the past two years, a group of Arab researchers who have been part of the SecDev team, mostly females, produced 20+ research papers, country reports, case studies and manuals covering different aspects of DVAW in 16 countries in the region, the statement further explained.

Additionally, “the SecDev Foundation engaged in a series of knowledge translation and advocacy activities, seeking to better understand the challenges and opportunities related to DVAW”, according to a SecDev statement sent to The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Day one shed spotlight on the initiatives to combat DVAW in the region, sought to answer questions relating to the reasons behind the importance of addressing DVAW, in addition to discussing the potential for building a regional research community of practice.

In an interview on the side-lines of the forum, MENA senior programme manager at SecDev Foundation, Raed Sharif, told The Jordan Times that this forum highlights the efforts and processes that have been done over the past two years through the various case studies, research and discussions at the regional level.

“We want to pinpoint the similarities and differences in the case studies of different countries,” he noted, adding that the project, which included the 20+ studies, is titled “Unpacking the complexities of technology-facilitated violence against women in the MENA Region.” 

This is a message that the MENA region with its experts and researchers is capable of producing high quality research, he expressed. “Today, we are engaging with policymakers here in Jordan and elsewhere… as our longer-run objective is to have a positive impact on laws and policies.” Sharif stated.

The impacts of digital violence are diverse and can seriously disturb the life of the person involved, according Sharif who underlined that digital violence directed against women is not a trivial matter, but rather an issue that needs to be addressed adequately with full attention and focus.

General Secretary of the Jordanian National Committee for Women’s Affairs Maha Ali, said that “the online space is one of the principal means to empower women”, while mentioning a 2021 JNCW study on the political violence practiced against women who work in public service, which showed that 40 per cent of women engaged in public service have faced violence from media materials.

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