Secretary Madeleine K. Albright, chairman of NDI’s board of directors, and NDI Director for Gender, Women and Democracy, Sandra Pepera, were featured on PBS’s To The Contrary on Friday, September 29, 2017. The show discussed numerous issues of global importance, including NDI’s #NotTheCost campaign aimed at stopping violence against women in politics.
NDI launched #NotTheCost in March 2016 to ensure that women can be politically active without experiencing any form of discrimination, harassment or assault. Even as women are advancing toward equality and claiming their right to participate in politics, they are also increasingly becoming targets of violence.
"I was in Mexico where more women are being elected, which is terrific, but we've also seen more violence," said Secretary Albright on the show.
An Inter-Parliamentary Union report from 2016 found that 81.8 percent of female parliamentarians had experienced psychological violence in the course of their work, and 44.4 percent said they’d received threats of death, rape, beatings or abductions. Despite the scale of the problem, however, relatively few of these incidents are ever reported.
“Women themselves have not even understood that [violence] is not the cost of participating in politics,” Pepera said. “That why we’ve coined the phrase [#NotTheCost]... it is unacceptable to be preyed upon physically, sexually, psychologically.”
NDI has launched an effort with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls to collect examples and testimonies of this violence for a report to the United Nations General Assembly in 2018. This will highlight the global prevalence of violence against politically active women, and build the case for more action at all levels.
You can help strengthen our democracies by ensuring that women aren’t discouraged or stopped from taking part in the decision-making that affects their lives. If you or someone you know has faced violence -- whether physical, psychological, or online - because they engaged in political activity, report it here.