Women & Privacy - Challenges and Rights


In celebration of International Women’s Day, an important topic that should always be on our radar is women’s privacy. We all have a right to privacy, and in today’s digital age, there are several unique privacy challenges faced by women.

As an example, women may elect to use apps to track their menstrual cycle. While some of these tools are indeed helpful and may seem relatively harmless, it has been shown that certain period-tracking apps may gather deeply personal information and provide no guarantee that this information will not be shared with or sold to third parties. 

In online spaces such as social media platforms, women’s privacy may be threatened by stalking, surveillance, online misogyny, and harassment. Women may also be vulnerable to circumstances where their sensitive personal information, including intimate text messages, images and recordings, are collected and used by websites without their consent, or shared by malicious individuals for revenge purposes. 

As women, it is critical that we recognize these types of privacy risks when we navigate various digital spaces. We need to ensure we can understand and leverage privacy settings, properly secure our social media accounts, and most importantly, continue to advocate for our privacy rights. To this end, here are a few helpful suggestions for all of us (including women): 

Privacy Focused Digital Habits

  • Use a browser with robust security features and learn about adjusting privacy settings to minimize data collection and tracking by third parties. You can use incognito or private browsing mode to avoid leaving a trail. 
  • Read about the privacy policies and data collection agreements when using third party applications. 
  • Avoid using public wi-fi and unfamiliar surroundings when dealing with sensitive information. 
  • When completing online forms, note what information is truly required vs optional. 
  • Limit posting personal and sensitive information on social media. 

Leverage Secure Communication

  • Communicate securely using encrypted messaging applications and services, especially for sharing sensitive information. 
  • Use Password Protection on files to avoid any unintended use. 

Advocate for Privacy Rights

  • Privacy is your right, learn and advocate for stronger privacy laws and regulations that protect women’s digital rights. 
  • Hold companies accountable for transparent data practices and consent mechanisms. 
  • Ask why” – When asked for personal information, including your email, phone, health information or postal code as examples. 
  • Stay up to date on changes in privacy laws 

Be Aware

  • Keep yourself up to date about the online scams or threats tricking you into divulging sensitive information. 

Report Privacy Breaches

  • If you feel your privacy has been violated, report it to the privacy officer for the organization, or the privacy regulator. 


Privacy check for women: how your data is being used in 2024 | Cybernews

A Guide for Individuals : Protecting Your Privacy — Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

International Women’s Day 2024