Thursday the 10th of October, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz announced the winner of the Sakharov prixe 2013 to be the young Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai who fights to promote the right to girls' ducation amidst Taliban violence. With the blog as her weapon she became a powerful voice in Pakistan, and a role model for young women worldwide.
The announcement coincides with the International Day of the Girl on Friday 11 October and the European Week of Action for Girls, a week initiated by the Plan EU Office, and supported by the European Parliament, to ensure girls voices are heard . An important week indeed as it highlights the often exposed and vulnerable situation girls and young women find themselves in around the world.
This also holds true on the internet, where girls have been especially subject to bullying and harassment. And it has been in the spotlight in Swedish media. A recent post in the Swedish blog "Sociala Medier" puts focus on the problem. According to a recent dissertation from Karlstad University “Traditional Bullying and Cyberbullying among Swedish Adolescents – Gender differences and associations with mental health” girls are more subject to cyberbullying than boys, while boys and girls are equally prone to bully themselves.
Research conducted at Gothenburg University also shows that among 10 year old girls, those that are on Social Media are more dissatisfied with their looks compared to other girls.
The study and the research comes in the wake of the so called Instagram-case in Sweden, in which a case of defamation on an Instagram-account among teenagers in Gothenburg almost caused riots in December 2012.
We find out information on the web,we learn, we socialise, we meet friends. Therefore it's a place of human beings, men and women, girls and boys, with emotions. Therefore we who see the benefits of social media and the web must help ensuring it is place for everyone, where no one should have to feel excluded. Just as noone should have to feel worried going to school or to work, noone should have to feel worried when they start up their computer.
Photo: By Eddie~S (Bully Free Zone Uploaded by Doktory) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons