In 2016, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) launched the #NotTheCost campaign to stop violence against women in politics, declaring that violence should not be the cost of women’s political participation. Since its launch, the #NotTheCost campaign and the issue have gained global recognition and momentum, leading to a series of important achievements.
However, even as progress is made, new threats are emerging, as is a deeper understanding of the phenomenon and the necessary actions to stop it. Adding to the existing prevalence of misogyny and sexism, democratic backsliding, a rise in “strong man” politics, and technological innovations have created new contexts and means of perpetrating violence against politically-active women.
On the fifth anniversary of the #NotTheCost campaign, NDI is renewing its call to action and presenting new opportunities to end both prevailing and newly emerging types of violence against women in politics.
The broad range of actions listed in this renewed call to action suggest that everyone, regardless of their political role, can do something to combat violence against women in politics. The task ahead is not only to share existing practices or develop new strategies, but also to explore and nurture new partnerships that help identify and address political strategies that use violence against women in politics to undermine the potential for achieving inclusive and resilient democracies.
A Renewed Call to Action
Women are advancing toward equality and claiming their right to participate in politics: as civil society activists, political party leaders, local councillors and mayors, parliamentarians, ministers and presidents. At the same time, women are facing a backlash to their political participation, and experiencing discrimination, harassment or assault because of it. This violence must stop. It is NOT the cost of politics, but by attempting to exclude or silence women, it costs us the benefits of the resilient and responsive democratic governance that an inclusive political space can create.
Incident ReportNDI has worked closely with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to establish a report form that allows for the safe and secure reporting of incidents of violence against politically active. The form is available in Arabic, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian. Read more »
NDI has developed think10, a brand new safety planning tool for individual women in politics to use to review their personal and professional vulnerabilities and empower themselves to take informed steps to enhance their safety as they got about their political activities. The tool, which can be found at think10.demcloud.org, consists of a self-assessment questionnaire and their country’s risk calculation taken from NDI’s new Women’s Political Participation Risk Index (WPPRI). The WPPRI assesses the risk of being a politically active in 172 countries.
UN REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN POLITICS
In 2016, NDI launched the #NotTheCost campaign, - a global call to action to raise awareness to stop violence against women in politics. The campaign’s title reflects the fact that many women are told that harassment, threats, psychological abuse (in person and online), physical and sexual assault are “the cost of doing politics.” For the last two years, NDI has been working to challenge this claim by raising awareness of the violence that politically-active women face, collecting data on it, and building capacity among our partners to mitigate its impact and hold perpetrators to account.
One of the key asks made by NDI’s Chairman, former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, at the launch of the campaign in 2016, was for the United Nations to begin to examine violence against women in politics in its annual thematic reports. In October, 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, H.E. Dubravka Šimonović presented her thematic report on violence against women in politics to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This is the first report on the issue of violence against politically-active women to be tabled before the UNGA.
In June 2018, NDI submitted a paper detailing its understanding of the nature, causes and impact of violence against women in politics in response to the UN Special Rapporteur’s call for evidence. In it, the Institute responded to the Special Rapporteur’s request that the evidence be rights-based, action-oriented, and driven by the testimonies of women who are politically-active - as activists, voters, candidates, elected or appointed officials, and electoral workers. Below are both NDI’s submission to the UN Special Rapporteur, and her final report that was presented to the UNGA on October 5, 2018.
- Engendering Hate: The contours of state-aligned gendered disinformation online | Demos
- #NotTheCost Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics: A Renewed Call to Action | NDI
- Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics: Call to Action | NDI
- Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics: Program Guidance | NDI
- Review of the Committee on Standards in Public Life into the Intimidation of Parliamentary Candidates submitted to the House of Commons, UK | Sandra Pepera
- Violence Against Women in Politics Evidence Submission to the House of Commons, Canada | Sandra Pepera
- No Party To Violence: Analyzing Violence Against Women in Political Parties | NDI
- #NotTheCost: Madeleine K. Albright Lunch 2018 | NDI
- #NoEsElCosto, the #NotTheCost campaign implemented in Mexico | NDI, InMujeres and Mexico’s National Institute for Women
- NDI Mourns the Murder of Brazilian Politician Marielle Franco | NDI
- “To the Contrary” on Violence Against Women in Politics and the #NotTheCost campaign | PBS
- How Disinformation Became a New Threat to Women | Coda Story
- Tweets That Chill: Analyzing Online Violence Against Women in Politics | NDI