A nascent body of literature has highlighter the violence (broadly defined) that women sometimes face as they enter politics. Some interpretations depict this violence as primarily gender motivated: women politicians are targeted because they are women. Another interpretation is that violence in some contexts is an everyday political practice targeting men and women alike. However, because we lack large-scale, systematic comparisons of men’s and women’s exposure to election violence, we know little about the extent to which – and how – candidate sex shape this form of violence- We address candidates in the 2018 Sri Lanka local elections. Sri Lanka is a suitable case for analysis because it is a postconflict country in which political violence has been endemic and the number of women candidates has increased rapidly due to gender quota adoption. Overall, we find large similarities in men’s and women’s exposure to violence, suggesting that violence sometimes is part of a larger political practice. However, we find that women are exposed to forms of intimidation of sexual nature more often than men. This finding demonstrated the need for gender-sensitive analyses of election violence.
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