#NotTheCost: Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics
#NotTheCost: Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics

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.

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Farida Nabourema, Togolese activist, speaks at the National Democratic Institute's #NotTheCosts forum in 2018
Farida Nabourema, Togolese activist, speaks at the National Democratic Institute's #NotTheCosts forum in 2018

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

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A group of Honduran activists hold orange signs in Spanish calling for an end to violence against women in politics.
A group of Honduran activists hold orange signs in Spanish calling for an end to violence against women in politics.

 

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.

 

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