Almost half of female MPs face violent threats, PES Women claims

Speaking ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), Party of European Socialists Women has warned harassment and violence directed at women in politics is undermining democracy

PES Women, made up of representatives from all PES member parties in the EU have quoted an Inter-Parliamentary Union report that says that 46.9% of female MPs have received death threats or threats of rape and beatings. 

58.2% have been targets of sexist comments on social media.

24.7% have actually suffered sexual violence and 14.8% of female MPs have been through physical violence.

This comes in conjunction with the recent verbal abuse of Maltese Labour MP, Rosianne Cutajar, who was mentioned earlier today by Equality Minister Helena Dalli when launching the '16 Days of Activism' campaign, an effort to raise gender-based violence awareness. 

A statement released earlier today by PES Women made reference to the recent murder of UK Labour MP Jo Cox. Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women said, "Violence against women in politics encompasses all forms of physical and psychological violence, going from undermining women, mansplaining, online stalking and trolling, to harassment, aggression and assault. It affects women everywhere at every level."

Gurmai argued that political participation should never be punished and speaking ahead of the European elections claim that PES Women wants to raise awareness to create a political environment where it is fair and safe for women to run for office.

Sergei Stanishev, President of PES, said that he fully supports the PES Women movement. "Women make a vital contribution to political life and we need more women in our parliaments. Harassment is one of the biggest barriers women face when trying to enter politics, but it is not the only obstacle. We need an institutional revolution, so equal participation and representation of women and men in political life becomes the norm.”

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