Section: 1.2 About this project

The research process

First stage

We commissioned Hate and Extremism Insights Aotearoa (HEIA) to conduct a focused literature review of online misogyny, a summary of government and social media responses to this type of content, and a content analysis of New Zealand-based posts on fringe platforms.

For the literature review, HEIA sourced material from academic publications, news articles, surveys, ethnographies, government reports and webpages, and social media company webpages. To gather relevant articles for this research, HEIA employed a comprehensive research methodology which included a systematic search across various databases, platforms and academic resources.

  • Databases: Several reputable databases were searched, including but not limited to: JSTOR, Google Scholar, and the University of Auckland’s database which provides access to platforms such as SpringerLink, Project MUSE, Oxford Academic, ProQuest, and various archives.
  • Keywords: In order to refine the search, various relevant keywords were used. These keywords included combinations of broader terms such as ‘misogyny’ and ‘gender-based discrimination’, alongside focused terms such as ‘disinformation’, ‘online’, ‘gaming’, ‘technology’, ‘deepfakes’, and ‘violence’, among other relevant keywords. Country-specific searches were carried out in addition to the broader literature on misogyny.
  • Inclusion: Inclusion criteria encompassed peer-reviewed academic articles, journals, and research studies. Grey literature, such as reports, government documents, and working papers, were further included where relevant. Media articles from reputable news sources were included.
  • Analysis: The information from our search was then collated and organised for analysis. The team at HEIA identified patterns, themes, and gaps in the literature related to online misogyny.
  • Approach: HEIA undertook a comparative approach, comparing misogyny in Aotearoa to that in a range of similar countries. Trends visible overseas provide important insights for Aotearoa, as online and offline harms and violence which increase elsewhere often subsequently arrive in this country. Because this report focuses largely on how the threat has changed in the last few years, the qualitative research methodology allows for comparisons of contemporary data with previous years.

Second stage

The research team at Te Mana Whakaatu—Classification Office undertook some additional analysis and information gathering. They reviewed academic research reports, articles, and documents published under the Official Information Act 1982. Additionally, the team sought insights from different government departments, Crown entities and NGOs in New Zealand. Following this, the Office developed an online reference resource and a summary report.


This section outlines key gaps and limitations we noticed.

There is a gap in how current systems collect and record data on online misogyny.

In New Zealand, there are no standardised methods for collecting and analysing data on online misogyny across government agencies and NGOs. Unclear definitional boundaries mean that misogyny is often grouped with broader issues like gender/sex-based discrimination, harassment or hate speech, making it difficult to isolate and study.

Existing reporting systems don’t consistently capture key demographic details such as gender, faith or ethnicity, which would be helpful for understanding how online misogyny and abuse specifically targets different groups of women and girls.

Globally, the lack of consistent, validated international measures and up-to-date data on violence against women hinders a comprehensive understanding and effective policy formation.

There are gaps in the evidence base in New Zealand

In New Zealand, there are evidence gaps in several key areas related to misogyny, both online and offline, as well as gender-based violence. It would be useful to see more quantitative and qualitative studies that could provide statistical data on the prevalence or patterns of misogyny and gender-based violence and explore personal experiences, perceptions, and narratives surrounding these issues.

For example, it would be useful to see additional studies exploring:

It’s also important to highlight that some New Zealand studies reporting on misogynistic and violent extremist content online have not undergone a rigorous peer review process. Peer review processes help ensure that methodologies and findings are reliable and robust.


Source materials varied in scope and definitions used were not uniform, presenting a challenge in comparability

The main limitation of this project is the variation in the scopes and definitions used in the source material included in the literature review. Studies relating to online misogyny may employ different terms; for example, ‘online violence against women’ or ‘technologically facilitated gender-based violence’. As such, it’s not always possible to make direct comparisons between the different studies, and assumptions about what constitutes misogyny may vary.

While these terms differ, they address different manifestations of misogyny. It is important to be mindful of these terminological differences while reading the review and findings of this research.