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UN study titled Violence against women in politics released

May 1, 2014 18:08 IST

The study titled Violence against women in politics was released on 30 April 2014 by the Centre for Social Research and UN Women.  According to the study, Violence against women in politics is rampant in South Asia due to insufficient implementation of laws and lack of support from police and judiciary.

The study was conducted in India, Nepal and Pakistan and it analysed the incidents of violence that occurred in these countries from 2003 to 2013. It was conducted to address the nature, extent and reasons for violence that inhibits women’s political participation.  Respondents included election commission officials, police, contestants and families in urban and rural areas were interviewed.

Highlights

• The study found that the percentage of female voters and women representatives in national bodies has decreased in these countries.  More than 60 percent of women do not participate in politics due to fear of violence and almost 90 percent of women in these countries feel that violence breaks their resolve to join politics.
• South Asia contains one-fifth of world population and one-third of South Asian women experienced violence throughout their lives, which is also a common feature of South Asian politics.
• Women in politics face multiple types of violence, in different countries like
a) In case of India women they suffer from physical violence, verbal and threat of violence as 45 percent of women candidates in India faced physical violence and threats in comparison to only 21 percent (physical violence) and 16 percent (threats) in Nepal respectively.
b) In case of Nepal and Pakistan the female suffers from character assassination (a greater threat)
c) Other forms of violence are threats, kidnapping and killing
• The women are denied from their rights to participate in politics at every stage (right to vote, contest election, access resources and education. The denial of the right to vote was commonly experienced by women voters while women candidates were denied their right to join a political party or to contest elections.
• The study recommended that urgent action should be taken at different levels like
a) Law-making
b) Political parties
c) Law-implementing agency
d) Law-influencing agency
These levels were chosen or selected to expand political reservations for women with minimum 33 percent reservation.
• It also suggested that political parties should include more women party members in all committees, the election commission needs to take steps to recognize, protect, promote and institutionalize women’s participation in politics.
• Several Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico are pushing legislation to prevent and punish all forms of persecution, harassment and violence against women.
• The study revealed that the insufficient implementation of laws, lack of support from police and judiciary, low awareness about politics and overall decline in moral values are the major reasons for violence against women in politics.

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