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The priority theme during the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) was “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. As noted by the Women’s Rights Caucus, the 2023 Agreed Conclusions showed progress on some issues, including the centrality of human rights when it comes to technology, the role of digital platforms in women’s participation in public life, and the recognition of the element of consent when it comes to online gender-based violence. However, critical language (and accompanying political positions) on sexual rights, bodily autonomy, comprehensive sexuality education and the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people were left out of the Agreed Conclusions and were constantly either fully shut down or narrowed down in the inter-governmental negotiations that preceded the Agreed Conclusions.

This issue brief is an attempt to broaden and complicate the priority theme for this session and to critically engage with the negotiations and Agreed Conclusions by locating the theme within the context of freedom of expression online, particularly for women, girls and LGBTIQ+ people. This policy brief will explore questions related to online expression for feminist and women’s rights activists, and draw upon the emerging trends and challenges. Additionally, it provides a preliminary introduction to useful emerging language and advocacy for the CSW and beyond.

This issue brief offers:

  • An overview of freedom of expression online for feminist and women’s rights activists who are new to the topic.

  • An analysis of how expression online, including sexual expression, is a feminist issue, and how it intersects with access, online gender-based violence, bodily autonomy, content moderation, activism, etc.

  • Language and political positions that are useful for advocacy at the CSW and beyond.

Download the issue brief here.