There have been instances of aggression towards women that have impacted them for many years. These acts are now amplified through digital channels like social media, serving as a megaphone for biased messages. This disinformation focuses on discrediting individuals rather than fostering political debate, thereby affecting the country's democracy and preventing women from participating and having a voice in society.
Societal perceptions further amplify the discredit and discourage women from speaking out on certain topics that generate hate and misogynistic messages. Gender-based disinformation exhibits certain characteristics, including stigma, narrative-driven denigration, marginalization as an invalid speaker, and specific dehumanizing messages. Our minds tend to focus more on moral than rational topics, making us susceptible to such disinformation.
Regardless of gender, education, or economic status, individuals possess characteristics that make them vulnerable to disinformation. Research shows that all genders produce fake memories at similar rates, but women tend to have more accurate recollection of true events. Moreover, women exhibit greater abilities in applying media literacy tools. While disinformation affects women, investigations reveal their vulnerability to political disinformation and their tendency to have fewer characteristics that lead to belief in conspiracy theories. It is crucial for women to be aware of these dynamics.
Women's vulnerability to gender violence is closely tied to their response capacities, which are shaped by their historically subordinated social status in Colombia. Gender inequality and inferiority persist, despite cultural changes that have allowed women to hold important political positions. Resistance stemming from patriarchal norms and societal expectations contributes to this vulnerability.
While the younger generation of women is more educated and has access to technology, this is not the case in all environments or societies. Disparities in basic education, such as mathematics, affect women's economic independence in rural areas. Limited internet access creates a generational gap.
Furthermore, four behavioral factors rooted in biases and cognitive factors make people more vulnerable to disinformation. These biases develop through learned societal rules and evolutionary behavior. The Detox Information Project's investigation in Colombia highlights these factors:
Dehumanization: Belief that people who think differently have less decision-making ability.
Perception of discrimination: Increased vulnerability to disinformation among those who feel discriminated against.
Ambiguity tolerance: Preference for simple answers to complex societal problems.
Distrust: Greater difficulty in trusting others who hold different beliefs.
Discrimination stands out as the most inequitable factor between women and men. Women face discrimination on a daily basis, holding inferior positions and lacking decision-making power in a society structured around power dynamics. The Vamos Mujer Foundation addresses this issue through self-reflection, generating bravery, and recognizing the transformative power of combating discrimination, ultimately reducing violence in Colombia.
It is essential to continue working on initiatives, reforms, and social and cultural transformations to decrease discrimination. The first step in reducing biases is awareness and understanding that biases exist. When creating new narratives, it is crucial to focus on ways to avoid contributing to polarization and violence cycles, as well as empowering trust.
The Detox Information Project offers experiences to reduce vulnerability to disinformation and polarization, with a success rate of 32%. These experiences include tests available on their website. After completing the test, you can watch videos featuring other individuals' experiences, gaining new perspectives on biases and becoming more aware of them. This process facilitates change without confrontation, utilizing new narratives for self-convincing.
👉🏽 Watch the full webinar recording here (in Spanish): Grabación webinar: Grabación webinar: desinformación de género en medios digitales
💡 Interested in learning more about spotting and protecting yourself from disinformation? Enroll in our free, self-paced course on Countering Disinformation today!