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Challenging violence against women in public life

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Rachel George, Pilar Domingo

Image credit:A poster of Brazilian politician, feminist, and human rights activist, Marielle Franco, who was Murdered in Rio de Janeiro in 2018. ©Matheus Obst/Shutterstock

The many faces of violence against women in public life exposes the gendered and misogynistic belief that political space belongs to men. These rising threats towards women, both online and offline, are underpinned by harmful attitudes and behaviours perpetuated by patriarchal social norms.

This ALIGN Briefing is a summary of discussion drawn from an expert meeting hosted by ALIGN and ODI in May 2021, entitled ‘Changing harmful norms to prevent violence against women in politics and leadership: charting a forward-looking agenda’. 

There have been significant gains in enhancing women’s participation in politics and public life in recent decades. Yet, many challenges remain, critically, the high levels of violence that permeate experiences worldwide towards those who are in decision-making positions, or who aspire to assume public office. While violence against women in public life is a longstanding problem, the proliferation of online media and technology has brought with it new threats, creating new spaces for the perpetration of violence. 

This ALIGN Briefing provides a record of the discussion, focusing in particular on the experience of violence among women in two branches of with significant decision-making powers across society: judiciaries and legislatures.