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WE-DARE (Women’s Equality: Digital Access and the Right to Expression)

Unit(s) of assessment: Business and Management Studies

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: Nottingham Business School


We-Dare explores the intersections of gender-based violence and digital innovation.

Setting the Context

What: We-Dare explores the intersections of gender-based violence and digital innovation. The main goal of the project is to explore how access to digital platforms and innovation can protect and further basic women’s rights in Africa, focusing on addressing violence against women in the South African context. Recent events related to violence against women in South Africa (Karim and Mthethwa, 2019) have increased the urgency to address this problem across societal institutions. Business schools have the capacity to leverage corporate connections and design cross-sectoral collaboration to allow for a comprehensive and interdisciplinary understanding of the problem, as well as the capacity building required to address it.

Why: The multifaceted precarity of women in society has long been acknowledged in the literature on gender intersectionality (Hill, Collins and Bilge, 2016), and our focus will be on understanding the way in which the ‘digital gender divide’ exacerbates the problem.

How: Our aim is to build research networks to understand and address the complex interplay of racial, gender and economic inequality, information poverty and the lack of access to digital means. To do so, four dimensions will be explored: 1) understanding the role of the digital innovation in maintaining and/ or combating the tacit roots of inequality and violence against women; 2) addressing women’s lack of access to digital technology; 3) enabling women’s participation as digital citizens; and 4) the role of digital communication in creating a speak-out culture against violence and inequality.


  • We-Dare adopts an systemic approach to explore and address the intersections of gender-based violence and digital innovation.
  • Phase 1 of We-Dare was funded by a GCRF DIDA grant in 2020-2021 to establish a network including a range of partners. We held network meetings, as well as conducted focus groups and interviews with both network members and communities in South Africa and Nigeria to understand the systemic and intersectional causes of gender-based violence as well as available digital resources that address GBV.
  • Our research in phase 1 explored the complex intersectional roots of GBV, and highlighted past injustices, poverty, patriarchy, and unequal power relations as particularly important dimensions.
  • Further, our research illustrated that while existing digital resources have limited effectiveness addressing GBV, they could potentially fill an important role in doing so!

Corporate & Community Pilots:

  • Work continued in 2022 with partners (the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, and NGO partners: 1000 Women Trust, Cadena and Womaniko) on pilot projects. The second phase received around £130,000 in corporate funding for pilots in South Africa, administered via our local partner, GIBS at the University of Pretoria.
  • Additional funding was sourced through Hollard and Woolworths. Recently, we entered a partnership with the National Business Initiative (NBI, an umbrella body for business in SA), signed an MOU.NBI secured £18,000 of funding in addition to £30,00 in QR funding was awarded to run the pilot for 3 months in 2023.
  • Our pilots included corporate interventions addressing GBV in collaboration with Woolworths and Womaniko, as well as community workshops in collaboration with GIBS, Cadena, 1000 Women Trust and Hollard.

WE-DARE Stage 2

  • Currently we are working on Stage 2 of WE-DARE. In this stage we, together with some of our partners in South Africa GIBS, 1000 Women Trust, and Izwe, are working to develop multifaceted partnerships with both academics and NGOs in order to produce process improvements that address GBV.
  • As part of this phase, we are working together with our partners to conduct background research on GBV, creating a research report repository to be made available to our partner organisations, and developing blueprints to improve existing technical solutions and support for survivors of GBV in South Africa.

Looking to find out more? Enquiries can be directed to Mollie Painter.