Female parliamentarians worldwide experience sexual harassment

27 Oct 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

A study conducted by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) surveyed and interviewed 55 female parliamentarians spread across the globe including countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

A massive 80 percent of the respondents claimed to have experienced some form of psychological or sexual harassment or received threats of violence.

The study will be released in Geneva when the IPU group assembles for its annual-meet.

In context: Harassment of female MPs a universal menace

DetailsWidespread harassment of female Norwegian MPs

In the last few years, Norwegian female MPs have been reporting an explosion in incidents of anonymous sexual harassment over electronic media; messages received are obscene, graphic and intended to intimidate.

Others have received direct or veiled threats and the issue is so prevalent that new young MPs are warned to expect it.

This has resulted in women withdrawing from public-debates to avoid abuse.

Israeli and French female MPs very vulnerable

In May 2016, a survey concluded that out of 32 women parliamentarians in Israel, a massive 28 had been sexually harassed or assaulted. A few weeks prior to this, 17 French female parliamentarians had signed a petition against pervasive sexual harassment in their workplaces.
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27 Oct 2016Female parliamentarians worldwide experience sexual harassment

ExamplesRape threats, violence and more

The IPU-report sheds light on abuse that female parliamentarians experience while discharging their public duties.

A European member of parliament reported that she was at the receiving end of over 500 rape threats on social media within a mere span of four days.

An Asian parliamentarian claimed threats of violence were targeted at her son which detailed his school schedule and other personal-details.

Misogyny commonplace amongst elected officials

65.5 percent of the respondents conceded that they had been targeted with insults of sexual language and imagery and humiliating remarks from male colleagues were common. The respondents were of all ages and selected from 39 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Middle-East.

WhyIPU Report: Myth that 'elite is immune'

According to IPU Chief, Martin Chungong, one of the most disconcerting aspects of the IPU report was how pervasive sexual discrimination and harassment was.

It was also concerning that threats were able to significantly hinder the work of female elected officials who were considered 'leaders of society'.

Martin Chungong said, "So if the elite are victims of sexual aggression, what about the underprivileged?".