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HAT Forum: Women in Politics

  • The 519 Community Centre, Room 304 or TBA 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)

Proposer: Cecilia Rayo.

Physical, sexual and psychological violence against female MPs is undermining democracy and efforts to end gender inequality, according to a study of parliamentarians around the world.

More than 40% of female MPs interviewed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said they had received threats of death, rape, beatings or abduction while serving their terms, including threats to kidnap or kill their children.

More than a fifth said they had been subjected to one or more acts of sexual violence and almost a third said they’d witnessed an attack on a colleague in parliament.

Some 80% of MPs said they had been subjected to psychological violence – hostile behaviour that causes fear or psychological harm.

The survey sample used by the IPU was small – interviews with 55 female MPs from 39 countries in five regions of the world – but the union’s secretary general, Martin Chungong, said the results made clear “the problem is much more widespread and under-
reported than we realise”.