Online Safety for Women

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2016 National Women's Conference
25 September 2015

Conference recognises that the use of progressive, interactive and widespread social media sites can be very beneficial both in a work or a personal context. However, are we being less concerned about our rights to privacy when using these sites? The whole idea of social networking is to be involved, connected and in touch with friends and colleagues, and individuals are encouraged to post photos, statuses, where they are, where they’ve been and who they are with. Social media sites work purely on sharing information with others and being less private about our lives.

Conference acknowledges that social media in our society is widely used but are women members fully aware of the risks of posting for example where they work, live or that they are on holiday? There are widespread concerns regarding members posting where they work on their public profiles and the impact on their job, especially if dealing with vulnerable individuals. There has also been an increase in social media references within disciplinaries in the workplace across the UK. It is also widely known that employers do look at profiles on social media at the point of appointing to a post.

Conference believes that social media sites do not emphasise the risks posed to women when updating their profiles and that individuals could put themselves at risk without even knowing or considering it. Profiles can provide enough information for someone to become a potential victim of stalking by others who trawl social media sites for these women. The software and applications enable stalkers to track victims through their daily lives and could strike at any time, whether this would be physically, emotionally, financially or other means.

Conference asks the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Create an Online Safety guide for women to be used in Regional Groups and branches highlighting do’s and don’ts for women around social media sites.

2)Campaign for social media sites to be more aware of the issue of cyber stalking and how to report it

3)Encourage Branch activists to negotiate a robust and effective Social Media Policy within workplaces.

4)Promote education provision for women members around their own online safety.