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Our statement on the outcome of the UK General Election

With the UK General Election results in, Glitch would like to celebrate this historic moment, which ushers in the most Black women ever representing us as UK citizens in Government – though none have been confirmed in ministerial positions within the new government. Overall, Black women stood for election across nine national parties and as two independent candidates. 17 Black women were elected across Labour, Conservative and Scottish Greens, with 15 of them on Government benches. It is an achievement that should not be taken lightly, and it is a testament to the progress that can be made when we empower and uplift voices from all corners of our society.

With the UK General Election results in, Glitch would like to celebrate this historic moment, which ushers in the most Black women ever representing us as UK citizens in Government – though none have been confirmed in ministerial positions within the new government. Overall, Black women stood for election across nine national parties and as two independent candidates. 17 Black women were elected across Labour, Conservative and Scottish Greens, with 15 of them on Government benches. It is an achievement that should not be taken lightly, and it is a testament to the progress that can be made when we empower and uplift voices from all corners of our society.

We remain concerned at the lack of support, prevention and action to stop the toxic and unacceptable abuse Black women candidates and MPs faced during their campaigns. During the election period, Glitch hosted online safety workshops and consultations with Black women from across Parliament, and we heard first-hand how digital misogynoir and online abuse were negatively impacting both their desire to run for office and their ability to show up as themselves in service of their constituents.

Seyi Akiwowo, Founder and CEO of Glitch: “Representation in parliament cannot be achieved at the cost of the physical or mental wellbeing of Black women. These MPs, whether on government benches or not, need structured, resourced support from the government that acknowledges the disproportionate abuse they experience. Proper implementation of the Online Safety Act must be part of this, making tech companies fully accountable to Black women and girls for the first time.”

We welcome the government’s commitment to “build on the Online Safety Act, bringing forward provisions as quickly as possible, and explore further measures to keep everyone safe online, particularly when using social media” and we reaffirm the calls within our Tech Manifesto for the government to take the harms faced by Black women in public life seriously and to commit revenue to combat online abuse.

Glitch is the organisation we wished existed eight years ago, one that unequivocally centres Black women’s safety as they put themselves forward to serve in the nation’s highest offices. We were instrumental in ensuring women and girls were named and protected within the Online Safety Act, and we will continue to work with politicians and civil servants to ensure Black women from all walks of life are protected from digital misogynoir.

So, what now?

As recommended in Glitch’s Tech Manifesto, we ask that the government and the Online Safety Act’s regulator, Ofcom, honour the protection of women and girls in the Act by:

👉🏽 Committing revenue collected from Big Tech tax for prevention and specialist services

👉🏽 Strengthening duties on tech companies by enforcing a Code of Practice for Violence Against Women and Girls

👉🏽 Meaningfully consult groups experiencing disproportionate online abuse and AI harms on existing and proposed regulations and legislation in online safety

As heard in our Be Safe Online campaign, we call on all national political parties to put protections in place for Black women campaigning and/or standing for them by:

👉🏽 Developing and implementing internal party policies on misogynoir, both online and offline

👉🏽 Providing training, in partnership with specialist organisations, on online safety and digital citizenship to party staff, activists and candidates

Online abuse is not normal, it’s not okay and it has no place in our lives. This moment presents an opportunity to ensure that the UK government not only represents the true diversity of the British public, but also fosters an environment of safety and respect for all. By doing so, we can truly embrace the power of inclusion and equity in shaping a better future for all.

Team Glitch