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UK political parties host international summit on violence against women in politics

February 27th, 2018

On 19-20 March, UK political parties – Conservatives, DUP, Green Party, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Plaid Cymru and SNP – in partnership with WFD, will convene legislators and activists from 20 countries for a two-day conference in London to identify practical means to address violence against women in politics.

Over 50 speakers including party leaders, ministers and experts from UN Women, Amnesty International, the National Democratic Institute and CARE International will discuss new measures to combat violence and intimidation against politically-active women.

About the conference

More women than ever before are participating in politics worldwide. Higher numbers of women are being elected to public office and, in many countries, more women are attending political events, engaging with government bodies and registering as voters.

However, as women’s political activity has grown, so has the frequency and degree of violent responses to their presence in politics. Globally, politically-active women – voters, candidates, local councillors, members of parliament, bloggers and activists – regularly find themselves on the receiving end of acts or threats of violence.

Leading activists in politics, civil society and academia will meet to identify practical means to address the growing incidence of violence against women in politics. The conversation will be led by practitioners – women who have chosen to become active in politics and public life who know and understand the breadth and the impact of violent responses to their activism.

Importantly, this cross-party conference of political and community leaders has been initiated by the UK political parties, who have chosen to work together on this issue and involve their international partners. Unlike many political discussions that start with disagreement and discord, this conference opens with consensus: violence against women in politics must end.

The conference will produce and publish a set of recommendations and actions to be taken by relevant bodies to address violence against women in politics, and will agree a set of steps to advance these.

The programme

The conference will take place at Carlton House in London over two days and will see the launch of a WFD Research report on violence against women in politics.

Day 1 – Monday, 19 March features sessions on:

  • Parliament’s role and responsibilities in addressing violence against politically active women
  • Violence against women during elections
  • The cost of politics
  • Online abuse of politically active women
  • There will also be an evening networking reception

Day 2 – Tuesday, 20 March features sessions on:

  • How women in party youth wings are affected
  • The civil society perspective on VAW in politics
  • The role of political parties in tackling violence against politically active women
  • Recommended actions for political parties and parliaments to protect women’s right to participate in politics and government free from violence

The provisional agenda is available for download.

WFD’s support for women’s political leadership

Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) is a public body sponsored by the UK Government responsible for supporting the establishment of effective multi-party democracy in developing countries. WFD’s work is based on values – that all people are equal and that the protection of their human and democratic rights is essential for fair, safe and prosperous societies.

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