UNODC promotes cyber safety and security for women, girls, and children jointly with UN sister agencies and national partners from Central Asia and South Caucasus at the roundtable discussion ‘Women and Cybercrime’, dedicated to the International Women's Day 2023

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Research by the World Health Organization shows that every third woman has experienced a form of violence in her lifetime, and despite the relatively new and growing phenomenon of internet connectivity, it is estimated that one in ten women has already experienced a form of cyber violence since the age of 15 and more. Also, the issue of cybersecurity is often seen as a possible career choice for men, but not for women, which is why there is a serious gender imbalance in this area.

To address this problem and promote cyber safety and security for women, girls and children, on 31 March 2023, the Regional Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Central Asia, in partnership with UN Women, UNICEF country office in Uzbekistan, regional law enforcement agencies, NGOs, gender activists and human rights defenders of Central Asia and the South Caucasus, international development partners convened a virtual round table on the topic ‘Women and Cybercrime’ dedicated to International Women's Day. The theme of this year's International Women's Day is "DigitALL: Innovations and Technologies for achieving gender equality". The event brought together over 120 participants. 

Opening the meeting, Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia invited the participants to jointly discuss the international practices of combatting cybercrime against women, girls, and children, and also called on ‘the empowerment of women and girls which is one of the necessary areas of work, as countries will not be able to achieve their goals in the field of socio-economic development without this factor. “The UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2022-2025 has designated the achievement of certain outcomes on preventing and addressing cybercrime, which are also aligned with UNODC Gender Strategy 2022-2026, and other international frameworks”, - she said.  

Uygun Nigmajanov, Deputy Head of the Law Enforcement Academy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in his welcoming remarks noted the long-term cooperation with UNODC, and informed that in recent years, the Government had adopted a number of measures to protect women from violence and promote their rights. “Also, we conducted a victimization study among the population of the Fergana Valley in cooperation with UNODC to research crime problems through the prism of victims of crime – women and men. It pays special attention to the issues of violence against women”, - he highlighted.

The round table speakers discussed the best practices and innovative solutions on digital transformation with a gender perspective, secure cyberspace for women and girls. Experts from UNODC Global Cybercrime Programme, UN Women, UNICEF as well as from the Police of the Republic of Armenia, the Department of Protection of the Right of Access to Information of the Office of the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan, Ministries of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, ‘Oasis’ Public Foundation of the Kyrgyz Republic, Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of the Republic of Tajikistan, Law Enforcement Academy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, “Istiqboli Avlod” republican social information center of the Republic of Uzbekistan shared their experience in this area. 

They spotlighted the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence, combating cyber-bullying of women and girls. In particular, the following was discussed:

  • the importance of contributing to the partnership among the government agencies both within the country and between other countries on combatting the cybercrime,
  • cooperation with the civil sector,
  • the practice of involving women through non-governmental organizations, as well as at the decision-making level,
  • cyber hygiene at schools, the importance of working with children and teachers in this area,
  • the importance of involving the mass media and the private sector at both national and transnational levels,
  • the leading role of the government at the legislative level in cybersecurity and cybercrime prevention,
  • work in the creation of new conventions on countering cybercrime against women, girls, and children, etc

Ulziisuren Jamsran, representative of the UN Women in the Kyrgyz Republic (covering Uzbekistan) in her key conclusions and recommendations noted that widespread systemic gender-based discrimination in digital platforms requires zero tolerance and increased women’s leadership and agency.

Glen Pritchard, Head of Cybercrime and Money Laundering Section, UNODC Global Cybercrime Programme, in his closing speech said: "We need to acknowledge that women are more vulnerable to cybercrime, and that this has a tremendous impact on their economic and social opportunities. As such, it also has negative impact on the development targets and SDGs. This is the first step to take, so national authorities can take the preventive and protective measures to address this specific type of cybercrime and fight online impunity when it comes to gender-based violence. UNODC stands ready to continue supporting Member States in this endeavor."  

Following the results of the meeting, the participants decided to collect all the ideas, recommendations, and suggestions that were identified during the event in a document that will be distributed to participants as a call for  action to eliminate gender inequality as the main cause of cyberbullying against women, empowering women in the field of cybersecurity, combating cyber bullying against women and girls and for further work on the most effective practices and their implementation at the regional and interregional levels.   

Full video of the event with interpretation is here 

For further information please contact:

Arifa Fatikhova  

Communications and External Relations Officer

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 

Regional Office for Central Asia 

Mobile: (+998 99) 825-05-43 | Email: arifa.fatikhova[at]