Cyberspace Protection

Woman looking at laptop with a lock symbol displayed


More than 1,000 women are working with the Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ) to end cycles of violence around the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic has required them to move more of their peacebuilding work online, they face greater
cybersecurity threats. 

To help these women drive their vital work forward, NortonLifeLock — which helps secure devices, identities and online privacy —  has partnered with the Kroc IPJ to provide software and training to protect them.

According to the United Nations, peace agreements involving women are 64% less likely to fail. But as women work on disarmament, mediation and other critical policies, they often challenge existing power structures, putting themselves and their families at risk. The need to work online has exacerbated these risks by making sensitive information more readily available.

For example, one former Women PeaceMakers fellow experienced daily threats and harassment on Facebook. Fearing for her and her family’s safety prompted her to hold back at times from sharing vital information with her communities. Other women peacebuilders have faced harassment, detainment and arrest.

To address these threats, women from around the world participated in the first training session held in the summer of 2020. Post-training surveys found that the women’s understanding of key aspects of cybersecurity doubled in nearly every category, including mobile device security and public Wi-Fi risks. Participants reported that they would change online behaviors and
account settings. Each received a free virtual product network (VPN) product license and software to protect themselves and their organizations.

“This training gave me the tools and knowledge I need to feel more free to implement my peacebuilding work, without jeopardizing safety,” says one local women peacebuilder.

“I am grateful for the NortonLifeLock partnership,” says Jennifer Bradshaw, Kroc IPJ’s women, peace and security officer. “These women are strong, and experts in the field of peacebuilding. The training they are receiving will allow them to continue to build a safer and stronger future for their communities.” — Liz Harman

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