Our call for IWD2019: End Online Abuse

To mark International Women’s Day 2019 and Women’s History Month we are asking the Chancellor of Exchequer to make a commitment to ringfence at least 1% of the new digital services tax in the upcoming Spring Spending Review.

Representation is key to change; more women in leadership positions, public life and technology could help shape a more balanced world, but women need to feel safe and resilient to participate – especially online. One in ten women in Europe have experienced some kind of online abuse since the age of 15. Amnesty International has reported a “silencing effect” for women and girls who upon suffering online abuse have been forced to censor themselves in online spaces. This prevents women and girls from accessing relevant information, expressing their opinions and participating in public debates. It is only right that social media companies, while paying their fair share in supporting our public services, help end online abuse on their platforms.

Glitch have partnered with the Centenary Action Group (CAG) a cross-party campaigning coalition convened by Helen Pankhurst to lead a new campaign to end online abuse. During the Autumn Statement last year, the UK Chancellor announced a new “digital services tax” of 2% on tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. This tax is expected to raise an additional £400m a year. By ringfencing at least 1% of this new tax annually for ending online abuse – the Government can commit £4m to further establishing online standards which are fair and necessary to the growing digital economy.

The UK has positively benefited from internet innovations, and to continue to benefit we need to manage the related threats of online harms and violence in the digital world. We wouldn’t stand for sexist, racist or violent threats in our society- so we shouldn’t stand for it online. We cannot wait for legislation we need practical action now. Let’s be global leaders in creating ethical online standards.

Our campaign provides recommendations of how the 1% should be used; to enforce existing and new legislation on online abuse and increase police resources; educate the public on the importance of good online citizenship and empower individuals and civil society organisations working to end online abuse.

How can you help us?

 This weekend, ahead of the Spring Spending Review can you:

  • Write to the Chancellor of Exchequer asking to make a commitment to ringfence at least 1% of the new digital services tax to help achieve this.
  • Write to your Member of Parliament asking them to ask a question during the Spring Spending Review debate to make a commitment to ringfence at least 1% of the new digital services tax to help achieve this.
  • Tweet your MP asking them to support @glitchuk_ and @centenaryaction’s #endonlineabuse campaign

Through no negative deficit, using money from tech giants, the UK Government can take decisive action towards ensuring the internet is use-able for all – championing online citizenship and reinforcing our position as a global leader in the digital arena.


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Glitch is a UK registered charity. Charity number: 1187714
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