Awakening of world leaders to the problems of violence against women in politics

Awakening of world leaders to the problems of violence against women in politics
picture by : WFD, Violence Against Women Conference London - flickr


Idil Igdir

Women’s Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence

On March 15, 2022, the President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, underlined a crucial point for women on the sidelines of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women by stating that "as a former parliamentarian and lifelong politician, violence against women in politics is an issue close to my heart. It is a moral and ethical failure for us as a society”. In the statement, he emphasized the long-standing violent behavior and actions against women in politics as well as in all areas of women's lives.

During the session, many key leaders called for concrete actions aimed at ending violence against women in politics around the world. Among them were Vice-Presidents, Government Ministers, and senior officials from more than 20 Member States. This important initiative by high-ranking politicians mainly stressed that violence against women in this area has increased in proportion to the increase in women's participation in politics.

Therefore, Sima Sami Bahaous, Head of UN Women, underlined the following fact, referring to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which aims to create a more equal, just, and sustainable world: “violence silences women, renders them invisible, pushes them from public space”. World leaders and lawmakers have failed both in achieving gender equality and in preventing violence against women in politics. Since these failures threaten the foundations of democracy, they also constitute one of the most important obstacles to the attainment of a democratic order. In this regard, as the UN Women official said at the session “only when women are safe from violence and there is accountability, only then, can we make progress”. 

On the other hand, the UN discusses data collection as a tool to assess the level of gender-based violence against women and girls, to address violence against women in politics, and achieve tangible results. The Member States also take into account the essential role of technology, and thus of social media platforms, in combating hate speech against women in politics. For this reason, it is said that an advanced mechanism is needed to help tackle cyber violence against women. 

Sources and Further Reading : 

(March 15, 2022) “Violence against women in politics marks ‘moral and ethical failure’ - General Assembly President”, United Nations, UN News, Women.

(March 16, 2022) “Calling for an end to violence against women in politics”, UN Women.