Press release: Online abuse against women must be addressed urges Glitch Founder Seyi Akiwowo as she is named Digital Leader of the Year


IMG_20190621_131125Last night Seyi Akiwowo, Founder of Glitch, was announced as Digital Leader of the Year 2019 and Overall Winner of the Final 100 Digital Leaders.

This award comes as Tedx debuts Seyi’s TedxLondon talk on how to fix the glitch in our online communities.

Glitch is a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for increased digital citizenship. Seyi Akiwowo, Founder of Glitch, said :

“It is a huge honour to win both Digital Leader of the Year and Digital Leader 100. I am proud to accept these awards and I do so with acknowledgment of all the amazing women and girls who have survived online harms and those who are working tirelessly to make our digital spaces safe, equal and inclusive.”

“Online abuse affects all of us: over half the adults nation-wide reported having a harmful experience online last year. It is important to recognise online abuse disproportionately affects women; globally, women are 27 times more likely to be harassed online than men and this is a whole lot worse for women of colour. We are living through the devastating consequences of this with increases in self harm, suicide and young girls afraid to speak their mind on social media for fear of abuse.”

“Digital Leaders is a global initiative that ensures digital growth and transformation, promotes social well-being and narrows social gaps. This award is a strong statement that gendered online abuse and violence aimed at women and girls can no longer go unaddressed. “

“As our lives and our democracy move increasingly online, we need to ensure everyone can access the internet without fear of abuse. We all – businesses, brands, employers, political parties, parents, educators and governments – must play our part as digital citizens to ensure innovation and technology does not exacerbate existing inequalities and to protect our online spaces.”


Helen Wright, Chair of Trustees, Glitch said:

“We’re so proud our Founder Seyi, and Glitch, have been recognised with these awards. Founded only two years ago, Glitch has consistently punched above its weight thanks to Seyi’s leadership.

“Glitch has delivered our Digital Citizenship Workshop to over 3,500 young people across the UK and Europe; and our Fix The Glitch Toolkit, which outlines how everyone can play their part in ending online gender- based violence, has been downloaded worldwide including Australia and Myanmar. Glitch has also delivered Digital Resilience training to

women and girls in all forms of public life across the UK and Canada – helping them gain confidence to be online.

“At Glitch, we look forward to supporting and equipping thousands more people around the world and will continue to champion digital citizenship.”

Jacqueline de Rojas, President of Digital Leaders, said:

“This is an important outcome for diversity and inclusion in technology. Being of ethnic origin myself, I am personally delighted to see Seyi acknowledged for her advocacy and leadership both at Glitch and on the global stage and Andrea for her passion and generosity in inspiring others into technology. Women hold up half the sky and these two BAME women are a fabulous reflection of the digital leaders we want to see.”

The award was announced at the 7th Annual Digital Leaders 100 Gala Awards. Notable guests in the past have been Ministers from the Department for Media, Culture and Sports. Judges for the awards include Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet and Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK amongst many others.



About Glitch

Glitch is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to end online abuse. We want to see an increase in digital citizenship across all online users and to instil these beliefs: that our online community is as real as our offline one and that we should all be working together to make it a better place. Fix the glitch now for a safer web tomorrow.

Glitch was founded in 2017 by Seyi Akiwowo, after she faced horrendous online abuse when a video of her speech at the European Parliament went viral. Glitch has garnered international acclaim.

About Digital Leaders

Digital Leaders, the nationwide programme for promoting effective, long-term digital transformation across government, industry and charities. This year marks their 7th Annual Digital Leaders Award.

About Digital Leaders 100

Each year’s list is created from nominations submitted by members of the 120,000 strong Digital Leaders Community before being shortlisted by the DL100 judges, who are often members of the Digital Leaders Advisory Board. This year’s list is the 7th cohort to join the alumni of previous winners that now numbers over 400 leaders from Government, Enterprise, startups and charities. These former members stay in touch, network and learn from each other through participation in the DL100 Club.

The awards starts with an independent list recognising 100 people and organisations across the UK who are leading the way in digital transformation in all sectors. Previously, the list has featured industry names such as: Martha Lane-Fox, Mike Bracken and Eileen Burbidge. A public vote narrows the 10 finalists in each category to three with judges deciding the overall winner after a short presentation.

About Seyi

Seyi Akiwowo is the Founder and Executive Director of Glitch, a young not-for-profit organisation determined to end online abuse through education, campaigns and advocacy. Using her lived experience and expertise, Seyi travels the globe developing practical solutions with Governments, NGOs and companies to protect our online public spaces from hate and abuse. Seyi was named Digital Leader of The Year and is also Amnesty International’s Human Rights Defender. She is also an inspirational speaker, writer and workshop facilitator who is passionate about leadership. In 2014, Seyi was elected as the youngest, black female Councillor in East London at age 23.


  1. In May 2019, Ofcom and the ICO announced a joint study where 61% of UK adults reported having a potentially harmful online experience in the past year. It also found that support for online regulation is up with 70% adults in the UK favoring tighter rules for social media sites in 2019, up from 52% in 2018. xperiences-revealed
  2. Plan International’s report Reclaiming the Internet for Girls found that 43% of girls admitted to hold back their opinion on social media for fair of abuse. ls
  3. Amnesty Troll Patrol Report 2018 found that black women were 84% more likely to be mentioned in abuse or problematic tweets.
  4. UN Broadband Commission March 2017 report found that globally women are 27 times more likely to be harassed online. enderDivide-report2017.pdf
  5. Glitch has delivered its Digital Citizenship Workshop to over 3,500 young people across the UK and Europe. Following the workshops, 86% of young people surveyed said they would behave differently online as a result of the information they learned during our workshop. Young people also said they felt an increased sense of self-awareness and responsibility of how their behaviour impacts others.
  6. At Glitch’s Digital Resilience Workshop at London City Hall, 2⁄3 of participants reported feeling safer expressing themselves and being themselves online as a result of attending the workshop.

For media enquiries please contact:
Casey Calista


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