NDI Expands #NotTheCost to Political Parties, Releases Initial Findings

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Washington, D.C. -- Today the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has released its preliminary survey findings from assessments of violence against women in political parties in four countries. The No Party to Violence: Political Party Assessment builds on NDI’s recent review of 21st-century political parties and is part of NDI’s #NotTheCost campaign to end violence against politically active women around the globe.

Political parties are a cornerstone of democracy, providing critical pathways for citizens’ political participation and engagement. However, because of history, tradition and gender norms, many parties have found it difficult to provide women with meaningful and equal access to leadership positions or party platforms.  As NDI’s findings reveal, because they are also “protected” public spaces, political parties are not always supportive institutions for women’s political ambitions, and actual violence against women - psychological, physical and sexual violence - takes place within these spaces.

NDI’s pilot assessments in Cote d’Ivoire, Honduras, Tunisia and Tanzania, involved 140 men and women from 26 political parties, who volunteered to participate in surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews regarding the presence and severity of violence within their respective parties.

Both male and female survey respondents confirmed that violence does occur within their party and that women are more likely than men to experience this violence. They also indicated that violence against women in political parties goes under-reported. More details on these points and others can be found in the No Party to Violence: Analyzing Violence Against Women in Political Parties Preliminary Findings.

“Public trust in political parties has been on the decline in recent years,” said Ivan Doherty, NDI's senior associate and director of political party programs.  “By volunteering to undergo this exercise, the parties that participated are taking an important step toward regaining voter trust and restoring the perception of political parties as trustworthy and inclusive democratic institutions.”

After the assessments, party leaders and members work together to develop party- and country-specific action plans to end this violence against women, thereby strengthening women’s membership and their roles on a basis of enhanced equality.

Since women’s experiences of violence within political parties has never been systematically studied, these four pilots provide important new insights to the phenomenon.  

This briefing will be followed by an analysis of the accompanying focus group and in-depth interviews that were carried out as part of the No Party to Violence: Political Party Assessment pilots.

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NDI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

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