Skip to main content


For more than one year, the groundbreaking #MeToo movement and related Time’s Up initiative have broken taboos and sparked an unprecedented global conversation about the sexism, harassment and violence many women face in professional environments.

Women politicians have also been saying #MeToo in politics. With women comprising just 5.2 per cent of Heads of Government, 6.6 per cent of Heads of State,[1] and 24 per cent of parliamentarians[2] globally, politics is overwhelmingly male-dominated. But as in workplaces in other sectors, women are increasingly present in parliaments and elected assemblies, government bodies and political parties. As women continue to defy gender norms that have traditionally kept them out of politics, they encounter hostility and violence in these institutions.[3]

Violence against women in politics can be physical, sexual or psychological in nature. Both men and women can be affected by violence in politics, but violence against women in politics is gender-based. It targets women because of their gender and the acts of violence are gendered in form, such as sexist remarks or sexual harassment and violence. Violence against women in politics is a violation of human rights, and by hindering women’s political participation, it is also a violation of women’s political rights.[4]

An Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) global study published in 2016, and a 2018 study focused on European countries, found that violence against women in politics is widespread. Both studies revealed that more than 80 per cent of surveyed women Members of Parliament (MPs) had experienced acts of psychological violence, which included, inter alia, threats of death, rape, beatings or abduction during their parliamentary terms. The studies also revealed that acts of psychological violence against women MPs are especially profuse online and on social media. Sexist and misogynistic remarks, humiliating images, mobbing, intimidation and threats against women in public life or women who express political opinions publicly have become commonplace. Young women MPs and those women active in the fight against gender inequality and violence against women were often singled out for attack.

The studies also showed that a quarter of the women parliamentarians interviewed were the target of sexual harassment perpetrated by male parliamentarian colleagues, both from their own political party and from parties opposed to their own.

Objective of the e-Discussion

The global fight to promote women’s equal participation in decision-making and to end all forms of violence against women is receiving unprecedented attention as more women in politics speak out through the #MeToo movement. Likewise, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals have put a global spotlight on the commitments of all countries to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (SDG Target 5.2) and ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life (SDG Target 5.5). iKNOW Politics and its partners will launch this e-Discussion alongside the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Contributions in Arabic, English, French and Spanish are welcome from 26 November to 21 December 2018. The e-Discussion seeks to raise awareness on the issue of gender-based violence against women in politics and expand the dialogue on how to make political spaces safer and more inclusive for women.   


  1. What is causing violence against women in politics to occur so widely across the world?
  2. IPU reports that about half of the women MPs subjected to acts of violence do not report them to the parliamentary security service and/or the police. Reporting rates for acts of sexual harassment are even much lower. Why do you think that is? What needs to change to ensure all incidents are reported?
  3. Social media is a top place in which psychological violence (e.g. sexist and misogynistic remarks, humiliating images, mobbing, intimidation and threats) is perpetrated against women in politics. How do you explain this? How can we make sure social media is a safe space for them?
  4. Violence against women in politics makes the work of women politicians difficult and potentially dangerous and therefore unattractive as a career option. What message would you give to women who are discouraged from engaging in political life because of the fear or threat of violence? 
To contribute: 
  1. Use the below comment section below.
  2. Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf.


[1] Situation as of 1 November 2018. Data compiled by UN Women based on information provided by Permanent Missions to the United Nations.

[2] Situation as of 1 October 2018. Women in National Parliaments World Average, IPU: (accessed on 6 November 2018).

[3] IPU, “Sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliaments in Europe”, Issues Brief. October 2018.

[4] United Nations, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences on violence against women in politics”, para 11. August 2018. See also UN Women, “Violence against women in politics: Expert Group Meeting report and recommendations”, 2018, and NDI, Not The Cost: Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics, 2016. 

Women continue to be severely underrepresented in decision-making processes and bodies across the world at all levels. In fact,  the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) reports  only 23% of members of parliament (MPs) are women. A major contributing factor to this is the unequal access to the resources needed to successfully seek nominations or participate in electoral campaigns. It has been increasingly recognized that politics dominated by money, more often than not, is politics dominated by men.  IPU conducted a survey in 2008 of 300 MPs affirming that campaign financing was one of the biggest obstacles faced by women. This was later confirmed in research done by UN women in 2013 [1], wherein over 80% of the respondents identified access to financing as one of the biggest barriers to enter politics. The costs of running for office varies greatly across countries and the barriers faced by women differ depending on context. Systemic issues such as lower economic status and lack of economic independence affect women globally, effectively placing barriers for women’s participation in politics [2].

While there are several factors that affect women’s political participation, electoral systems are key among them. Majority-based and candidate-centered systems tend to require more self-funding from candidates, putting women at a disadvantage. Costs will often be incurred in attempting to win a primary election, and then in the election period. Party primaries can be very expensive and act as an obstacle for women’s participation as they often require significant self-funding. Proportional systems typically require less fundraising from the individual candidate and are therefore considered favorable to women. This is due to political parties bearing the biggest costs for campaigning. However, political parties often stand as gate-keepers, nominating men they believe are more likely to attract more private funding due to ingrained gender stereotypes.

In many countries, the role of private funding is diminished due to the provision of public funding from the state. Around 30 countries have introduced public funding measures that promote the nomination and election of women into decision-making bodies. This may include earmarking funds for activities supporting women’s participation, such as providing direct funding for women’s wings; withholding funding for parties that do not reach a threshold of women nominated; or increasing funding for parties with higher levels of gender equality. International IDEA’s latest report on the matter  indicates that gender targeted public funding is only effective in countries where the funding amounts are high in relation to private funding; when the potential losses in public funding for not nominating women is high; and the connection between public funding and gender equality is sufficient to overcome gender prejudices within political parties. In contexts where parties do not rely on public funding, the penalties for not complying are low and gender-targeted public funding is unlikely to be effective.  

Objective of the e-Discussion

iKNOW Politics and its partners are convening this e-Discussion from May 15 to June 19, 2018 to seek input from political party leaders and members, politicians, experts, practitioners, and researchers on the challenges and opportunities of funding for women candidates and its role in promoting women’s political participation. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a Consolidated Reply that will augment the knowledge base available on campaign funding and its impact on women’s political participation.


  1. In your experience, what are the main challenges women encounter in raising funds for elections in your country?
  2. Are there any examples of innovative ways of fundraising used by women candidates?
  3. What are the good practices in political parties to support the nomination and fundraising for women candidates?
  4. What measures can governments establish to financially support women candidates? And how can these be effectively enforced?  
To contribute: 
  1. Use the below comment section below.
  2. Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf.


[1] UN Women undertook an assessment of parliamentarians and activists during the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March 2013, and with members of the iKNOW Politics network, A total of 70 respondents provided their views on the issue of political financing.

[2] For a comprehensive analysis of the challenges in receiving funding faced by women across the world, please see the chapter “Women in Politics: Financing for Gender Equality” in Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: A Handbook on Political Finance


Money is essential for the operations of political parties, and particularly affects candidates in electoral processes. Political financing regulations can effect women’s access to run as candidates, be elected, campaign and reach out to the population. Regulations on political funding are used to level the playing field in electoral competition. They can also work to ensure that women are able to compete on a more equal footing with men. This in turn may result in women’s increased political participation; a key feature of democracy.

Funding regulations need to be context specific and respond the realities on the ground. iKNOW Politics is seeking to collect information on laws, regulations or practices that have been put in place to address challenges women face in raising money in politics. We would like to know about good experiences in this area, in particular related to the following questions:

  • Are there formal (legislated) mechanisms that work to level the (financial) playing field between women and men candidates? If so, what are they (e.g. spending limits, campaigning time limits, disclosure, reforms to public funding that may benefit women)?
  • Are there adverse effects for women candidates in the existing laws on political finance? What can be changed, or what provisions could be strengthened (e.g. ensuring enforcement of campaign finance regulations, including disclosure; prohibition of illicit funding)?  Are there any controls in place?
  • How have political parties addressed the gender funding gap (e.g. voluntary – not legislated – practices such as internal fundraising mechanisms, in-kind contributions for campaigns)? If so, what are they?
  •  Are there differences in how women and men candidates spend their campaign funds? E.g. higher spending for women due to lack of security, childcare costs, etc.


GPEC gives central importance to capacity-building of EMB for the development of a transformative and gender sensitive approach of electoral management. This is to provide African EMB with the tools and support they need to ensure the legitimacy of the process which they are responsible for, according to regional and global standards of electoral democracy which guarantees equal political participation to women and men. One of the priorities of the GPECS Gender Component for the Africa region is to enhance capacity building of election practitioners and EMBs and support communities of practice to mainstream gender in electoral administration through the development of training tools, partnership promotion and dissemination of information.

The high-level meeting of African Heads of EMBs contributed to build the capacity of elections practitioners to develop a transformative and gender sensitive approach to electoral management.

The meeting was the starting point for the community of practice EMBs in Africa, a space for experiences sharing and knowledge updating on electoral management and gender in Africa. Further, participants had collected information for the elaboration of guidance for a transformative gender sensitive electoral management in Africa.

iKNOW Politics created this discussion circle to allow participants to continue sharing knowledge and experience.

What are some strategies that women have used effectively to raise money? What makes some women very successful fundraisers? What fundraising techniques work best in different political environments (i.e.: corporate donors, direct appeal to individuals, fundraising events, etc.)? What are some networks that women can draw upon for help in raising money?

What strategies have been used by women and grassroots organizations to promote the adoption and implementation of quotas? What are the main obstacles encountered by these organizations in their advocacy work?

What is your take on the claim that that high cost of electioneering in Nigeria discourages women from participating in politics?

Money has always been a huge factor in determining who wins election in Nigeria and that to women is a huge challenge as most women really struggle to get their campaign finance. Even when they become candidates, the political parties also neglect them and don’t get the kind of support that they would expect to get. Nigeria’s election has become so costly that if you are not into politics before, as an aspirant, you may not be in a position to be able to pay what the political space comes with. So, for women, some of them are discouraged from going into politics because of the high cost of elections. They can’t foot the bill that is expected. If you look at the Electoral Act, it has increased the money that people are expected to pay when they pick up forms to about 400 percent of what it used to be, and of course, most women cannot afford it. That’s why you don’t see them contesting for positions.

Click here to read the full article published by New Telegraph on 18 April 2023.

One female candidate in the conservative north is raising expectations she could become Nigeria's first elected state governor. 93 million people are registered to vote in the country's elections on February 25. Nigeria is the most populous in Africa. It also has the continent's largest economy and is its top oil producer. But with rising inflation, high unemployment and insecurity in the northeast, a lot is at stake. Eighteen candidates are running for president, including a woman. And more than a dozen women are candidates for governor posts, while others are running for parliament at state and national levels. So will Nigeria's voters elect more women into senior political roles?

Source: Al Jazeera English

The United Nations have launched the DPPA Electoral Series, a new initiative to commemorate the 10th anniversary of our training course on political approaches to preventing and responding to election-related violence. In the inaugural video, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo explains her role as UN focal point for electoral assistance matters, the goals of UN support, their approach to elections and their work with partners.

Click here to access the video.

A record number of Black women ran for office this year for U.S. House, Senate and governor. And while some made history with their wins, Black women are still underrepresented in public office. Nadia Brown, the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University, joined Lisa Desjardins to discuss the issue.

Click here to access the video.

Rosie Campbell is professor of politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, where she works with Julia. Rosie has authored research on voting behaviour, public opinion and the politics of diversity and political recruitment.

In this episode, Julia asks Rosie about women’s participation in politics and gendered patterns of support for the populist radical right. Julia and Rosie also discuss the main issues facing women that risk stalling gender equality over the next decade, and how we can accelerate the rate of change and advance women’s access to leadership.

Click here to access the podcast.

Journalist Ali Vitali covered female presidential candidates in 2020. Now she reflects on what got in their way.

As coverage of the 2022 midterms continues, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Ali Vitali is ready to see more women running for office and watch how candidates are going to address women’s issues, including childcare and access to abortion.

During the 2020 election cycle, Vitali was on the campaign trail covering candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. It seemed like a remarkable year, one in which a woman finally had a chance to be elected as the president of the United States.

Click here to read the full article published by Poynter on 22 August 2022.

Welcome to the Knight Center’s new free online course, “Freedom of Expression, Artificial Intelligence and Elections,” organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, in collaboration with UNESCO, UNDP, and with support of the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA).

During this four-week massive open online course, which will be held during the month of April 2024, students will learn and explore the fascinating and ever-evolving world of technology and democracy, in particular on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on freedom of expression in elections. 

To register for the course please follow these steps:

  • Create an account in the Journalism Courses system. Even if you’ve taken a course with us before, you may need to create a new account. Check to see if your previous username and password work before creating a new account.
  • Wait for a confirmation in your email indicating that your account has been created. If you do not receive this, please check your spam folder.
  • Once your account is created and confirmed, please click on the following link to enroll:
  • Click “Enroll” to enroll yourself in the course. You will be able to access the course from the “My Courses” menu at the top of the page.
  • Upon completing your enrollment, you will gain immediate access to the course and receive a confirmation email as well.

Who can enroll? 

  • Electoral practitioners and regulators. 
  • Journalists and media professionals. 
  • Civil society organizations working on elections, human rights, and gender equality. 
  • Students and educators.
  • Voters and citizens interested in understanding AI and its impact on democracy.

To register for the course, click here.

In order to promote women’s role in municipal politics, FCM has created a Standing Committee on Increasing Women’s Participation in Municipal Government. One of the tools this Committee has created to encourage and support more women in municipal government—including elected office—is this guide to municipal elections for women candidates.

This guide is designed to be a resource for women and for men who wish to promote the role of women in municipal politics. When reading this guide, remember that there is no single way to conduct election campaigns. In addition, this guide is by no means exhaustive. Municipal election policies and regulations vary by province and territory. This guide presents three appendices for those who have additional questions, or who would like clarification of the rules that apply in their own municipalities.

Click here to access the report.

An interview featuring Kate (Oxford) talking with Alyssa Humphrey from the Social Factory.

About Alyssa | Alyssa is a brand developer and digital media marketer located in Woodstock, Ontario with nine years of professional social media management, brand development and web design experience. Between her time in the agency world, coordinating projects, developing strategies, and cultivating brands, to working in-house for corporations and tech firms, Alyssa offers a truly holistic experience for those looking to develop and grow their online presence. An early adopter of social media for business, Alyssa uses this unique perspective to deliberately and tactfully guide her clients into the spotlight through social media strategy and management, content development, and website design. As a passionate advocate for small, local businesses, the majority of Alyssa’s client roster is made up of entrepreneurs looking to turn their small biz into a brand, rebrand an existing business or transition from brick and mortar to e-commerce. She was one of the pillars of and has been nominated for two Business Excellence Awards through the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at

Click here to access the video.

KAS consolidated a training manual that would be used to conduct a long-term tailored engagement on selected aspiring women politicians on effective campaign strategies leading up to elections. The training manual thus seeks to strengthen the capacities of women politicians on various strategic skills on campaigning for elective positions. The publication is available in English and German.

Click here to download the report.

The Women for Election EQUIP program is Australia’s first non-partisan, online political campaign workshop. It is designed to provide in-depth, practical training for female candidates and female campaign managers in advance of Local, State and/or Federal elections in a cross-party environment.

Click here to learn more.

Disillusioned with politicians and frustrated with politics in general? Stop complaining. Be the change you wish to see. Run for office and Get Elected!

Ruth McGowan OAM has worked as a consultant and adviser to councils, peak bodies in local government and community leaders since 2012. She is a former Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Council and an alum of the University of Melbourne’s Pathways to Politics Program for Women.

Get Elected is Ruth’s step-by-step campaign guide to winning public office: local, state, and federal. Written primarily for women, Ruth wants to see gender parity in Australian councils, state and territory parliaments and federal politics. Get Elected explains how women candidates and their supporters can plan and deliver a winning campaign.

Click here to learn more.

In line with its commitment to strengthening democracy and governance in the Americas and the Caribbean, ParlAmericas carries out activities related to electoral processes and women’s political participation. With these objectives in mind, parliamentarians have joined delegations accompanying and observing elections in Haiti and in the United States. These missions applied gender perspectives in their work, examining the equality between men and women in exercising their political rights, with particular attention to the conditions for the participation of women candidates and voters.

In addition, ParlAmericas held a regional gathering, The Electoral Journey of Women Candidates (in Spanish), in Guatemala in September 2016. At this gathering, current and former parliamentarians and political leaders from Central America, along with experts and representatives from the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM, by its Spanish initials) of the Organization of American States (OAS), identified the main obstacles women candidates face throughout the electoral cycle and proposed legislative reforms to establish equitable conditions in electoral processes.

Click here to see the training guide.

Since Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the 2016 election, there has been a renewed interest for women in politics and women running for politics. Emily’s List reported in March that over then thousand women reached out to them about running for office, a number bigger than the number of women who reached out during the entire 2016 election cycle, from January 2015 to November 2016. And Emily’s List is just one of many organizations out there that is helping women run for office. Below are eight institutions helping create a world with a more equal representation of the genders in office.

1. Emily’s List

The name of this organization is actually an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast” (i.e., it makes the dough rise). Their reasoning behind this unique name is that it’s a reference to a convention of political fundraising that receiving major donations early in a race is helpful in attracting other, later donors.

Emily’s List helps Democratic women run for office by recruiting women and building winning campaigns at every level of government. Since their founding in 1985, they have helped elect twelve governors, twenty-three senators, one hundred and sixteen House representatives and over eight hundred women to state and local office. Emily’s List also hosts candidate trainings for women who want to run for office and conducts research about women’s political views and voting behaviors.

2. She Should Run

She Should Run is a relatively newer organization that helps women run for office. Founded in 2011, the organization has inspired over fifteen thousand women to run for office since the 2016 election. She Should Run has also launched an initiative called #250Kby2030 that strives to get two hundred and fifty thousand women to run for office by 2030.

She Should Run accepts women of all political ideologies, ethnicities and backgrounds. Through its Ask a Woman to Run tool, people can let She Should Run know about great women leaders who they think should run for office. She Should Run also has an Incubator that offers online resources for women and goes to cities for in-person and virtual sessions, Chicago being the next city it’ll be in.

Click here to access the full list published by Study Breaks. 

The publication “Preventing violence against women in elections: A programming guide”, jointly produced by UN Women and UNDP, brings to light the scourge of violence against women in elections.

It seeks to identify the specific components of violence against women in elections, including types, tactics, victims and perpetrators, and presents options for policy and programming responses based on current good practices. It also provides examples of definitions and methods from all regions that may prompt ideas for actions according to each country’s national context.

This guide is intended for those best positioned to prevent and mitigate violence against women in elections, including national electoral stakeholders, international organizations such as UNDP, UN Women and other UN agencies, as well as those providing programming support on electoral assistance, women’s political participation, human rights monitoring and ending violence against women. It will also be a resource for members and especially leaders of political parties, electoral management bodies, civil society organizations, women’s groups and gender equality activists.

Source: UN Women

Promoting the equal political participation of women is a key aspect of achieving inclusive and sustainable human development and achieving the targets set in the 2030 Agenda.

The e-learning course ‘Enhancing Women’s Political Participation Throughout the Electoral Cycle’ covers the three phases of the electoral cycle, as well as internal EMB structures and highlights entry points to boost women’s participation in different roles. During the course, the user is provided with a detailed overview of the existing policy and human rights framework, relevant publications and other knowledge tools.

The target audience of the e-learning course are men and women working in electoral administration, candidates, political party members, but also assistance providers and members of civil society organizations.

Click here to take the course.