Women in politics and news media are frequently made the target of attacks, threats, and harassment. These efforts have one goal: to drive women out of the public space. This violence is one of the most serious barriers to inclusive democracies and institutions, directly impacting women’s ability to participate in these sectors.
This issue has only worsened with the systemic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which incidents of sexual and gender-based violence in both public and private spaces have increased. COVID-19 has also resulted in a shrinking political space, as governments move from consultative leadership to a ‘control and command’ position, constraining women’s autonomy and their engagement in public decision-making. These issues are of global concern, and have serious repercussions for democratic societies.
To address these challenges, the IWMF and the National Democratic Institute are launching a program that brings together women in politics and women in the media to combat violence against women in both of these sectors. The program will be run in three countries – Mexico, Kenya and Sri Lanka – to increase women’s safety both in-person and online. Participants will build coalitions and advocacy strategies addressing the negative impact on democracy caused by exclusionary media and political environments, and by violence against women who are active in politics and in the media.