Gender equality in the right to privacy

The United Nation’s work on a better understanding of privacy has revealed that gender has a significant influence in infringements of privacy. Dr Elizabeth Coombs reports.

Gender equality and human rights in business can be, and perhaps are, seen as side issues to be addressed after the real business of governments and enterprises has been done.(1)

But what if these issues affect service users or employees? Or service and product design, marketing and delivery? What if products, staff or practices disclose sensitive information contrary to data protection requirements? Or are seen to be unwelcoming or disrespectful of the rights of women and gender diverse individuals? Or even to put them at risk of discrimination and violence?

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph Cannataci, has called for gender equality in privacy practices around the world. The work under his mandate has revealed deeply disturbing infringements of privacy arising from individuals’ gender. These infringements frequently lead to discrimination, and some are intentional acts that can, and do, lead to violence.

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