The birth of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements is shining a light on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the United States across all its sectors, including media, entertainment, the tech industry, the judiciary and politics. However, sexual harassment is a form of violence and a global problem that is not constrained within a single country’s national borders. The United Nations estimates that one in three women around the globe will suffer domestic violence in their lifetime. This year’s Madeleine K. Albright Luncheon – which will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. – will put the #MeToo movement into global perspective, focusing specifically on violence against women in politics.
NDI’s #NotTheCost initiative, which was launched in March 2016, has been documenting the sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse that politically-active women experience. Many of them have revealed how this gender-based violence impacts their ability to participate freely in politics. Yet, as NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright has said: "Development without democracy is improbable; democracy without women is impossible."
The #NotTheCost initiative declares that, “violence is NOT the cost of politics” and calls for action around the globe. NDI has worked closely with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to establish channels to allow people to report incidents of violence against politically-active women safely and securely. The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women will also be presenting a report on violence against women in politics to the UN General Assembly later this year.
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) headlined last-year’s luncheon and added her voice to the global call-to-action:
“There are countries where women who engage in the political process face not only slurs, or whisper campaigns, or comments about their appearance – they face rape, and violence and death. Imagine being killed for trying to serve in parliament. For trying to vote. In the 21st century. You’d better believe we’ve got to change that.”
The speaking program at this year’s luncheon will feature testimonials from female politicians that have experienced violence themselves in addition to well-known change-makers and activists dedicated to keeping these topics in the headlines. Stay tuned for names to be announced as it gets closer to the date.
We hope you can join us for what will be an exciting and empowering event, the 13th year for the Madeleine K. Albright Luncheon! Tickets to the luncheon will be available starting in March, but you can click here to register for a reminder.
We also have confirmed the date for NDI’s 35th Anniversary Gala, which will be held on December 6 at The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.