No party to violence: Analyzing violence against women in political parties

Report / White Paper

September 27, 2018

No party to violence: Analyzing violence against women in political parties


Political parties are a cornerstone of democracy, providing critical pathways for citizens’ political participation and engagement. They mobilise citizens behind ideologies and policies, select candidates for representative posts, lead electoral campaigns, form legislative blocs in parliaments and, if elected, implement a program of government. Their role in defining key political institutions - policy formation, elections and parliaments - mean political parties have traditionally been important springboards for women's political participation. However, because of history, tradition and gender norms, many have found it difficult to provide women with meaningful and equal access to leadership positions or party platforms. Political parties also tend to be ‘protected’1 public spaces, allowing and enabling violence against women within their ranks to take place.

NDI has revised its long-standing Win With Women political party assessment tool, including by adding guidance on measuring levels of and dealing with the violence that women members face within their parties. The No Party to Violence: Political Party Assessment includes survey, focus group and in-depth interview tools to be used with women and men in the leadership and membership of parties in order to develop action plans to root out the violence targeting women within their own political party

Over the last year, this new approach has been piloted with a number of the larger political parties and civil society in Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Tanzania and Tunisia. The outcomes from this piloting represent the first assessment of women party members’ experiences of violence within political parties, thus providing important new insights on the phenomenon, which has never been systematically studied previously. It offers a unique cross-country analysis of the current understandings and perceptions of men and women party members around the types, levels, and impact of violence against women within these institutions. This important information is being used to create party- and country-specific recommendations to improve awareness, action and accountability to end violence against women within political parties, thereby strengthening women’s membership and their roles on a basis of enhanced equality. The piloting process has also created a safe space for multi-party dialogue in ways which have not exposed any party to the political risk of negative commentary from the issue being aired in public and/or used by their competitors.

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