A study by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) has revealed widespread abuse, violence and sexual harassment towards female parliamentary members around the world.
55 female MP’s took part in the survey, representing parliaments around the globe. More than 80% of the admitted psychological or sexual harassment or violence. A European MP is alleged to have received over five hundred rape threats on twitter in the space of four days. One from Asia was received detailed information on her son’s school, class and age followed by threats of violence towards the boy.
However the abuse isn’t just from strangers amongst the public. As with many workplaces around the world, female MP’s were subject to abuse from their own peers- male members of Parliament. 65.5% of women in the survey said male colleagues would commonly use lewd and sexual language towards them.
The Minister of Gender in Zamiba, Professor Nkandu Luo, said:
“In my part of the world… there is all sorts of language that is associated with female parliamentarians.” She added “it’s the way they demean women.”
The report comes at a time when the current US leadership debate is in the prime spotlight, with Presidential hopeful Donald Trump lambasted almost every other day by women accusing him of inappropriate sexual advances or language.
Yet more frighteningly, it was only back in June 2016 that UK parliamentarian Jo Cox was shot, stabbed and subsequently murdered by a mentally ill member of the public. UK Labour politicians Lucian Berger and Angela Eagle also revealed having been made the victim of abuse and threats.
Earlier this year, politician Paula Sherrif told Parliament about a “significant escalation of misogynistic abuse and threats of violence, disproportionately towards female MPs from all sides of this House.
“It is apparent that this abuse has become completely out of hand now, with many, many members fearful for their and their staff’s safety and to the point where a number of members have discussed with me that they are worried about their own personal health as a result of this abuse.”