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Report Launch | Malign Creativity: How Gender, Sex, and Lies are Weaponized Against Women Online

Date & Time

Jan. 25, 2021
1:00pm – 2:00pm ET

Report Launch | Malign Creativity: How Gender, Sex, and Lies are Weaponized Against Women Online

2021 will be a year of firsts for the United States: Kamala Harris will become the country’s first female Vice President; Avril Haines will serve as the first woman Director of National Intelligence; and Janet Yellen will be the first woman to lead the U.S. Department of the Treasury. For the first time, women will helm the White House communications team. More women—and more women of color—have been sworn in as Members of the United States Congress than ever before. 

But for these women, and many others in journalism, activism, academia, and beyond, political aspirations and engagement in public life come with a tacit cost. Social media platforms, lauded for connecting people, for helping protest movements organize, and for giving up-and-comers in a variety of fields the ability to compete, are also vectors for harm. Disproportionately, that harm—in the form of gendered and sexualized harassment and disinformation—is directed at women, particularly women of color. The cumulative impact of these online behaviors carries a huge risk not only for women’s equality, but for national security, and more broadly, the health of democracy itself. 

"Malign Creativity: How Gender, Sex, and Lies are Weaponized Against Women Online" is a landmark research study that explores gendered abuse and disinformation across six social media platforms over two months in late 2020. In the study, the Wilson Center and Moonshot CVE define, quantify, and evaluate the use of online gendered and sexualized abuse and disinformation campaigns against women in public life, and strive to build awareness of the direct and indirect impacts of the phenomenon. The study provides recommendations for social media platforms, government policymakers, and employers to mitigate the problem in service of a more equitable, democratic future. 

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