Weekly Newsletter Archive

What Role Does Tech Play in Preventing Gender-Based Violence?

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Chris Apostolou

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When the #MeToo movement launched five years ago, it inspired the world to speak out against violence towards women and girls. Since then, awareness for the cause has skyrocketed thanks to human right’s defenders, grassroot activists and survivor advocates from all over the world. Last Friday marked the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and the beginning of the UN’s UNiTE campaign which aims to raise awareness of this issue through a series of events calling for global action over the next 16 days. The campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. 

While all sectors should be considering their approach to gender-based violence, one industry that has an urgent need to address this issue is the tech world. While digital technology comes with many advantages, it goes without saying that it also can facilitate violence. During the pandemic internet usage increased by 70% and as a result many women and girls have become targets of online violence. According to UNICEF, the online sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls (particularly children) has reached crisis level. This got me thinking: 

What measures are currently being put in place to prevent the abuse of women and girls online? In the age of dating apps, how are we ensuring that women are being protected? What can I personally do to help? And what role could startups play to prevent and mitigate violence against women in the first place? 

We decided to launch a content series alongside this year's UN campaign as we are convinced that startups could make a big difference here. We are going to use the colour orange to highlight these topics as this is the colour of the UN campaign = used to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls. Considering 50% of our Work in Startups community is female, this is an issue very close to our hearts. Below we've compiled a first list of some of the many incredible organisations out there dedicated to this cause: 

This Ends Now

This Ends Now is a non-profit national protest lobby group dedicated to exposing the reality of living in a patriarchy. In September 2022, This Ends Now staged a protest against sexual violence in Gloucestershire with over 300 attendees. Co-founder, Sydney Anne McAllister said ‘’every single female friend of mine has experienced some sort of harassment.'' 

The Women's Centre Cornwall 

This organisation provides specialist help and support to female victims of sexual and/or domestic abuse in Cornwall. Using a holistic, non-judgmental approach, they empower women through the combination of a helpline, an online forum, one to one support, group work, body work and community based engagement. The Women's Centre Cornwall is one of 39 centres across England that provide effective specialist and confidential support. To find support in your local area visit the website of the national body Rape Crisis England & Wales, offering 24/7 help and support for both woman and men. 

Safe & The City

Canadian-born and London-based entrepreneur Jillian Kowulchuk, is tackling sexual harassment and violence against women through her app, Safe & The City. This personal safety app uses GPS technology and crowd sourced information and crime data from the Metropolitan Police Service in London to alert users in advance before approaching intersections with a patterned history of crime. 


WalkSafe provides users with a map that allows them to plan the safest route home. Since the tragic murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, the WalkSafe app has surged in popularity as more women and girls fear for their safety. Founder Emma Kaye created WalkSafe after personally experiencing harassment. 

While there are some amazing organisations that offer support for female victims of abuse and harassment, it has been a struggle to find many startups focusing on the core issue which is preventing incidents from happening in the first place. If you know of any more startups or organisations focused on this then please get in touch via contact@workinstartups.com as we would love to speak with you! 


#unwomen #16daysofactivism #16days #eliminationofviolence #genderbasedviolence #UNITE #campaign #women #tech #womenintech

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