International Day of the Girl: Take 2 minutes to sign this open letter and help stop online bullying 1 week ago

International Day of the Girl: Take 2 minutes to sign this open letter and help stop online bullying

It's International Day of the Girl and here's what you can do to help.

This year the theme of International Day of the Girl is 'Freedom Online' which is a campaign that focuses on the abuse and harassment that young women and girls face online and on social media. This is an issue that impacts girls worldwide and with that in mind, Plan International conducted a global survey speaking to 14,000 girls in 22 countries.

Here at home, Plan International's Youth Advisory panel conducted their own survey with startling results. Internationally, 58% of girls experienced some form of online harassment, here in Ireland the number is higher at 65%.

The violence that girls have endured includes cyberstalking, being sent explicit images, as well as abusive or threatening messages and comments. Girls and young women from ethnic minorities, from the LGBTQ+ community, and girls with disabilities reported being more likely to suffer harassment as a result of these intersecting factors.

This form of gender-based violence is having a serious impact on girls’ mental health with 25% admitting to feeling physically unsafe due to the abuse, 65% felt mental or emotional stress, and 75% found their confidence or self-esteem was knocked.

CEO of Plan International Ireland, Paul O’Brien says the research is shocking;

“The research carried out by Plan International delves into the shocking extent of online abuse that girls and young women experience. We may have moved to a place whereby street harassment is far less acceptable than before in Ireland, but the reality is that harassment has followed girls into their homes, bedrooms and minds via social media. Decisive action is needed by social media companies to ensure girls across the world are free to be online.”

So, what can we do to help? Sign the online letter here and stand with girls against online abuse. You can also head  over to the Her instagram account where our stories are being taken over by 20-year-old Cork native Jessica Gill. Jessica is studying International Relations in DCU and is a member of Plan International's Youth Advisory panel.

Happy International Day of the Girl... make it count.