In South Asia, the concept of power and authority are ascribed to certain social characteristics determined by the male privileged groups to exclude women. Women normally are not given the opportunity to hold positions of power in politics. Being powerless and marginalized women in South Asian society are at great disadvantage and experience injustice in inclusion and in the political domain. Gender based violence discourages women from actively participating in politics. Violence against women in politics (VAWIP) is an issue of concern. Almost all forms of gender based violence are used as tools for harming women through physical, psychological or social intimidation.
Gender sensitive laws, policies and provisions are currently absent in South Asian countries. Most of the National laws are silent about VAWIP and political violence is dealt with under criminal law. There seem to be no specific plans and actions to address the issues of VAWIP. Without appropriate laws, policies, provisions and mechanisms, it is not possible to address VAWIP. Violence against women in politics has not been discussed in most of the International Instruments including CEDAW. Even the SAARC gender data base has ignored violence against women in politics. Since most of the international instruments do not have explicit provisions to create a gender sensitive, safe and secure space for women to participate actively in politics, it is imperative to harmonize the existing international instruments to be adapted at the national level. Therefore, SAP International is attempting to build a policy influencing process for the incorporation of VAWIP agendas in the gender sensitive international instruments and mechanisms as well as in national legal provisions and mechanisms in South Asia.