Nighat Dad has been actively involved in educating young women regarding their rights and how to safeguard them digitally. She established DRF in 2012, a not for profit organization which aims to protect women from online harassment and also educates them as regards to respond to any case of harassment. The foundation is also involved in promoting campaigns against legislation that gives the government broad powers of surveillance online, and the dissemination of personal information collected by telecom firms regarding customers’ lives.
“We tell Internet users how to adjust their privacy settings, to make sure they have secure connections, change their passwords regularly and not to share unnecessary information,” Nighat elaborated. “And women should come seek help if they are targeted and not feel ashamed.”
“Every new law has one or two provisions that are really about regulating Internet space in Pakistan,” says Dad. “I explain laws in layman’s language to inform people what the government is trying to do.”
In Pakistan, cases of online harassment are very much common yet go unreported. According to the Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) a woman is raped every two hours and an estimated number of 1,000 women are killed each year as well. With cases of female subjucation and violence against women in Pakistan rampant, it is safe to assume that Nighat has her hands full.
Nobel prize laureate Malala Yusufzai has also attended workshops of Nighat Dad, before being shot by the Taliban in 2012. It is a matter of great pride and achievement for Pakistan that a Pakistani has been selected among Time’s list of Next Generation Leaders.