32% of Arab women parliamentarians have suffered forms of physical abuse.
Rabat – A study by the Network of Arab Women Parliamentarians for Equality (Ra’Edat) on the scale of violence against women parliamentarians in the Arab world found that 79.6% were exposed to one or more forms of violence.
Ra’Edat surveyed a sample of 370 current and previous Arab women parliamentarians from 15 Arab countries.
The study found that 76.2% of the women had experienced psychological violence, while 47.1% were victims of verbal abuse and gender-based harassment.
Meanwhile, 32% of Arab women parliamentarians suffered forms of physical abuse and 5.7% experienced sexual violence.
The study also found 34.3% who suffered economic violence, including assaults on their property or deprivation of employment opportunities due to their gender.
The Internet and social media produce the most violence against Arab women parliamentarians, with 32% report experiencing harassment on these platforms.
Survey respondents also experienced violence at electoral rallies and parties (16%) and in the street (15%).
The study found that 22.2% of women parliamentarians who had suffered violence did not file a complaint versus 21% who reported incidents to the police and 15% who went to court.
37.7% of women parliamentarians in the study sample said that their exposure to violence made them fearful of expressing their opinions, while 19.1% said violence made them abstain from participating in public demonstrations.
31.7% reported that violence interfered with their political activity and 12.5% felt compelled to professionally withdraw from politics.
The vice-president of the Ra’Edat Network, Fatima Gouaima Mazzi, underscored the importance of bringing awareness to this issue in a statement to the press after presenting the results of the study in Tunis on Tuesday, February 25.
“If we want to engage in development objectives and achieving equality, equity, and the involvement of women in political action and development, it is necessary to put an end to political violence against women,” she declared.
“We must talk about it so that it does not become a taboo subject, put it forward, sensitize all the actors and the driving forces of the country and develop a multidimensional strategy which extends to the legislative field with the enactment of strict and binding laws.”
The Ra’Edat Network is a regional parliamentary network advocating for equality and women’s political participation in the Arab world.
The group aims to unite the efforts of current and former women parliamentarians to achieve equity in decision-making positions by 2030 and to encourage policies aimed at upholding equality between women and men.