Political violence against women politicians! What is the violence faced by women in politics?
Despite the fact that women in politics have recently made considerable gains, their participation has been in many places around the world leading to assaults, intimidation, and harassment. In recent months, the topic has drawn more domestic and international attention, and it now offers options for how to solve it.
Techniques used to silence women’s voices in politics as women are referred to as violence against women in politics. Intimidation and the use of force against political opponents are the main focuses of traditional definitions of political violence. Because it seeks to both exclude and elevate women as political agents, violence against women politicians is distinctive and troubling.
Because so many women accept violence as a necessary component of the political game, the issue has largely gone unnoticed until recently. Others strategically decide not to come out against gender-based harassment out of concern that doing so may hurt their political careers or the electoral prospects of their parties. They can also think that if they do something to deserve the abuse, they will be mocked or blamed.
Despite these obstacles, political women from all over the world are becoming more active in identifying the issue of violence against women in politics and enacting solutions.
Political violence against women can take many different forms, including semiotic, economic, sexual, psychological, and physical. Examples of physical violence include the 2018 murder of Brazilian politician Marielle Franco and the Saudi Arabian campaigners for women’s rights who were detained and continue to be tortured. Online harassment, which uses threats and trolls to coerce women into leaving or reducing their social media use, is a frequent type of psychological assault.
Younger women and women of color, like Diane Abbott, the first black woman elected to the British parliament, are frequently disproportionately targeted in online attacks. Following the #MeToo movement, sexual violence received renewed attention, which increased state legislators’ understanding of sexual harassment and assault. As evidenced by the defacing of women’s campaign posters during the Iraqi elections, economic violence also involves vandalism as a tactic of intimidation.
Creating sexually explicit representations of political women also constitutes semiotic violence since it diminishes their self-worth and damages the public’s impression of their eligibility for political office. More than 100 female lawmakers in the United States urged Facebook to take more proactive measures to delete such digitally altered photos and videos.
Violence against women in politics is pervasive, according to two studies, one conducted globally by the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU). Both studies found that during their parliamentary mandates, more than 80% of the women who participated in the surveys who were Members of Parliament (MPs) had been subjected to psychological violence, which can involve, among other things, death threats, rape, beatings, or kidnapping.
The studies also showed that there are a lot of psychological assaults committed against female MPs online and on social media. Sexist and misogynistic comments, humiliating pictures, mobbing, intimidation, and threats directed towards women in public life or women who publicly voice their political beliefs have become frequent. Young female MPs and women who were involved in the struggle against violence against women and gender inequality were frequently singled out for criticism.
Raising awareness is the first step in combating violence against women in politics. Women all around the world have been vital in naming this issue, whether as individuals speaking out about their own experiences, as groups creating collective manifestos, or as networks bringing attention to breaches of women’s political and human rights.
In response, numerous nations have amended or enacted new legislation addressing violence against women in politics, and several legislatures and political parties have developed new codes of conduct prohibiting harassment and bullying. Women’s organisations have contributed to the documentation of this issue as well as the launch of solidarity campaigns and the provision of judicial and practical support to increase women’s safety in political settings.