Violence against women in politics a growing problem

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October 8, 2020

Violence against women in politics a growing problem

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While women have made significant inroads into politics in recent years, their involvement has spurred attacks, intimidation and harassment in many parts of the world, says Mona Lena Krook, a professor of political science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and author of the new book Violence against Women in Politics.

Krook discusses this global phenomenon, its role in American politics – where the issue has gained growing attention in recent months – and abroad and provides solutions on how this problem can be addressed.

What is violence against women in politics?

It refers to tactics used to silence women’s voices in politics as women. Traditional definitions of political violence focus on the use of force and intimidation against political opponents. Violence against women in politics is distinct – and also troubling – because it aims to exclude and empower women as political actors.

The problem has remained hidden until now, largely because many women normalize violence as part of the political game. Others make a strategic decision to remain quiet about gender-based attacks, fearing that speaking out may harm their political careers or affect their parties' electoral fortunes. They may also believe they will be scorned or blamed for allegedly bringing the abuse upon themselves. Despite these barriers, political women around the world have increasingly mobilized to name the problem of violence against women in politics – and, in turn, to take steps to address it.           

Click here to read the full interview by Newswise on 6 October 2020.

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