Policy Brief

Riding the Cyber Wave: How Feminist Activism Develops Strategies against Gender-Based Violence

October 2019


In the past decade, social media has become a vital mode of activism against gender-based violence around the world and particularly in the Mediterranean region with the revolutionary moments in 2011. Naturally, there has been a noticeable focus since then on the role of social media in bringing about social change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Gender issues and activism around gender have been similarly under the spotlight, although feminist and women’s organisations had been advocating for social change prior to 2011. This policy brief aims to capture the multifacetedeness of online feminist activism using Egypt as a case study, as the country witnesses an important dynamic of activism that mirrors aspects of similar activism elsewhere in the Euro- Mediterranean region.

This brief asserts that online activism constitutes a strategic and influential tool for current feminist and women´s organisations facing material constraints to bring about social change. It commences with a brief overview of the development of feminist activism in the context of the Middle East at large and Egypt in particular. The next section zooms into online feminist activism around gender-based violence in Egypt, analysing two cases. The potential and limitations of online feminist activism are subsequently tackled. The brief concludes with recommendations around online feminist activism, highlighting the importance of supporting and facilitating online activism around gender-based violence.

circle graphic