During a week when the world has focused on how governments and corporations can support initiatives that uplift women and girls globally at the Generation Equality Forum (GEF), more than 200 distinguished women have signed a letter urging tech companies to fight digital abuse.

Published by the World Wide Web Foundation on Thursday, the letter calls on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google to promote gender equality by protecting women online.

“The scale of the problem is huge: 38% of women globally have directly experienced online abuse. This figure rises to 45% for Gen Zs and Millennials,” the letter said. “For women of color, for Black women in particular, for women from the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups — the abuse is often far worse. The consequences can be devastating.”

The GEF culminated in Paris this week with global activists calling for the greater prioritization of women’s rights. Focusing on topics ranging from girls’ access to education to sexual and reproductive health, the event focused on the progress of women’s rights since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. It also called attention to new challenges that women face globally, including those arising from the growth of the internet.

The disproportionate levels of digital abuse faced by women is considered an extension of gender-based violence, which is characterized by the physical, sexual, mental, or economic harm forced on a person, usually a woman or girl, because of their gender identity. Social media platforms that have grown exponentially during the digital age have led to a breeding ground for people to abuse and harass women, often without consequences.

The letter’s signatories drew attention to this fact, encouraging the CEOs of the most popular social media platforms to use the occasion of the GEF to support gender equality and the empowerment of women and help end the practice of digital abuse. The letter’s signers include Diane Abbott, UK member of parliament; Gillian Anderson, actor and activist; Sopheap Chak, executive director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights; Emma Watson, actor and activist; and Farah Nazeer, CEO of Women’s Aid.

Read the full article about gender-based violence online by Jaxx Artz at Global Citizen.