Women’s existence in the digital world has been closely studied by scholars and attracted the attention of activists worldwide. Women, like men, early on saw the Internet as a potentially powerful and liberating tool that would help them find groups or communities with similar aims and interests. Today there is more awareness of the deleterious effects of unconstrained online speech such as online violence, ridicule, silencing, and threats against women.

    Women in the Digital World brings together the latest academic research on women online and includes chapters on political speech, gendered online violence, dealing with sexual assaults, marginalization of women politicians, and how women participate (or don’t) via online environments.

    The interdisciplinary research in this volume brings together communications studies, gender studies, sociology, politics, and computer science and is essential reading for those seeking to understand a growing field. The book should be of interest also for activists and NGOs who seek to deepen their knowledge on the place of females online. It was originally published as a special issue of the journal Information, Communication & Society.

    1. Introduction: women in the digital world

    Anya Schiffrin, Karolina Koc-Michalska, and Michelle Ferrier

    2. Digital microaggressions and everyday othering: an analysis of tweets sent to women members of Parliament in the UK

    Emily Harmer and Rosalynd Southern

    3. Insta(nt)famous? Visual self-presentation and the use of masculine and feminine issues by female politicians on Instagram

    Charlotte Brands, Sanne Kruikemeier and Damian Trilling

    4. Women learn while men talk?: revisiting gender differences in political engagement in online environments

    Darren Lilleker, Karolina Koc-Michalska and Bruce Bimber

    5. It’s a man’s (online) world. Personality traits and the gender gap in online political discussion

    Simone Abendschön and Gema García-Albacete

    6. The power of code: women and the making of the digital world

    Ulrike Klinger and Jakob Svensson

    7. Trouble in programmer’s paradise: gender-biases in sharing and recognising technical knowledge on Stack Overflow

    S. J. Brooke

    8. Digital divide and marginalized women during COVID-19: a study of women recently released from prison

    Matt Blomberg, Darcey Altschwager, Hyunjin Seo, Ellie Booton and Maxine Nwachukwu

    9. Online cultural backlash? sexism and political user-generated content

    Isabel Inguanzo, Bingbing Zhang and Homero Gil de Zúñiga

    10. Let’s (re)tweet about racism and sexism: responses to cyber aggression toward Black and Asian women

    Paulina d. C. Inara Rodis

    11. Beacons over bridges: hashtags, visibility, and sexual assault disclosure on social media

    Kristen Barta 

    12. Evidentiary activism in the digital age: on the rise of feminist struggles against gender-based online violence

    Fuyuki Kurasawa, Elisabeth Rondinelli and Gulay Kilicaslan


    Anya Schiffrin is Director of the Technology, Media and Communications specialization at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She writes on journalism and development, the media in Africa and the extractive sector. Her most recent book is Media Capture: How Money, Digital Platforms and Governments Control the News.

    Karolina Koc-Michalska is Professor at Audencia Business School and Affiliated Researcher at CEVIPOF Sciences Po Paris, France, and University of Silesia, Poland. She studies the strategies of political actors in the online environment and citizens’ political engagement. She employs a comparative approach focussing on the United States and European countries.

    Michelle Ferrier is Founder of TrollBusters and currently serves as president of the International Association of Women in Radio & Television. She is the executive director of the Media Innovation Collaboratory and an internationally recognized, award-winning technologist, journalist, and scholar in digital journalism, technology, media innovation, diversity, and entrepreneurship.