Addressing cyberviolence against women and girls in Tunisia
International Women’s Day 2023: March 8, 2023
Digital spaces present new challenges in protecting the rights of women and girls around the world. According to UN Women, a study of 51 countries showed 38 per cent of women personally experienced online violence. In response to these emerging issues, UN Women and the United Nations are marking this year’s International Women’s Day under the theme: DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
Canada is also responding to this issue through an initiative underway as part of the Technical Assistance Partnership – Expert Deployment Mechanism (TAP) Project. Funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Alinea, the TAP Project engaged the creative team at Canadian-based Atypic to design an awareness campaign addressing cyberviolence against women and girls in Tunisia.
Q: Describe the new campaign you and the Atypic team are designing on the issue of cyberviolence.
A: This is a social campaign with a strong prevention component, which consists of developing and implementing a communication strategy and digital campaign to prevent, report and combat cyberbullying and cyberviolence against women and girls in Tunisia. The campaign is particularly aimed at girls aged 13 to 18, who are the most active on social networks.
Q: Who are you working with on this initiative?
A: The project is conducted in collaboration with a unit of the Tunisian Ministry of Family, Women, Children, and the Elderly, and the Centre de Recherches, d’Études, de Documentation et d’Information sur la Femme (CREDIF).
Q: This year’s UN Women theme for International Women’s Day focuses on protecting the rights of women and girls, and addressing online gender-based violence. How is this initiative linked to this theme?
A: At Atypic, we always try to put ourselves in the shoes of our target audience to anticipate their fears, perceptions, motivations and needs. With this campaign, we asked ourselves how to give these young girls tools without falling into a moralizing tone – all of this in a tone that keeps things light and cool, which is so important at this age.
Q: How does your campaign address this issue?
A: The objective of this campaign is to give girls the keys to participate in these virtual spaces without putting themselves at risk; to give them tips but also information to make their own decisions. We want to work on the empowerment of young girls, and at the same time make them aware of the subtle dangers of technology on the web.
Q: The digital space is vast, complex and loud. What kind of strategies are you employing to ensure this campaign leverages technology to advance gender equality?
A: First, we chose to use simple, plain language that is accessible and aligned with “teenage vocabulary.” We don’t want the messaging to sound like a school manual! The digital campaign will have a dedicated presence on social media, with static and animated posts, all leading to the campaign web page. There will also be a more interactive component that includes an “instant experience,” which is an opportunity to interact with the content in a fun way.
Q: How are you ensuring the campaign resonates in the local context?
A: There was a lot of work done in collaboration with the local partner, the CRÉDIF, before creating the campaign to understand the experience of young girls in Tunisia, her environment, her behaviors, her prejudices and her challenges. From these observations, we also composed, with universal visual codes, a young girl with whom all teenagers can identify. The tone and texts were adapted in Arabic, as well as in a dialect spoken by young people in Tunisia, and validated with our client to ensure that the message resonates with young Tunisian women.
Q: When is the campaign expected to launch?
A: The campaign is expected to launch in the spring of 2023, before summer vacations, and will be rolled out over a three- to four-week period.
Q: What makes this project unique for you and the team at Atypic?
A: This is one of the first times that Atypic has carried out a mandate at the international level. This experience highlights the importance of cultural sensitivity of a campaign created in French and Arabic through a very rich co-creation process with our clients. For example, it was anticipated that certain approaches that work well in Quebec or Canada would need to be avoided in Tunisia, and to adapt our messaging to reflect this reality.
Q: What are your final thoughts and hopes for this project?
A: Atypic hopes it achieves its objective with this campaign by helping young girls become more aware of the dangers that certain behaviors can represent on the web, even if they believe they are safe in a virtual space.