The Cost of Doing Politics? Analyzing Violence and Harassment against Female Politicians

Monday, December 9, 2019

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"Recent years have seen a troubling rise in reports of assault, intimidation, and abuse directed at female politicians (Krook 2018a). Bolivia was the first state to respond with legal reforms, passing a law criminalizing political violence and harassment against women in 2012. In 2016 and 2017, global and regional organ- izations began to raise awareness and take action: the National Democratic Institute (NDI) launched the #NotTheCost campaign to stop violence against women in politics; the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) under- took a global study of sexism, violence, and harassment against female members of parliament (MPs); and the Inter-American Commission of Women published a model law to combat violence against women in political life. In 2018, the #MeToo movement led to the suspen- sion or resignation of male MPs and cabinet ministers in North America, Western Europe, and beyond."

About the Authors:

Mona Lena Krook is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. She has written widely on the diffusion and implementation of electoral quotas for women, including several award-winning books and articles. Her current research explores mechanisms of resistance and backlash against women’s greater inclusion in the political sphere. In 2017, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow to research and write a book on violence and harassment against politically active women. Since 2015, she has collaborated with the National Democratic Institute on its #NotTheCost campaign to stop violence against women in politics.

Juliana Restrepo Sanín is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. She completed her PhD in Political Science at Rutgers University in 2018 with a dissertation titled “Violence against Women in Politics in Latin America.” In 2018–19, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, and One Earth Future Foundation. She has published articles in Politics & Gender and Política y Gobierno and is author of Mujeres y Participación Política: El Fenómeno de la Violencia Contra las Mujeres en Política.

The authors would like to thank Sandra Pepera, Caroline Hubbard, Julie Ballington, Brigitte Filion, Rebecca Kuperberg, Mary Nugent, Gabrielle Bardall, Elin Bjarnegård, and Jennifer Piscopo for their sustained engagement with our work. An early version of this article won the APSA Women and Politics Section Best Paper Award in 2015. Subsequent versions have benefited from feedback during presentations at Columbia University, Rutgers University, Brigham Young University, Johns Hopkins University, the College of New Jersey, Emory University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Oklahoma State University, the University of Bucharest, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Princeton University. Fieldwork for this project was supported by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (SES-0955668), a Chancellor’s Scholarship at Rutgers University, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.

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