WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), along with Congresswomen Cori Bush (MO-01), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Lois Frankel (FL-22), Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, introduced a House resolution recognizing that violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon and that more research should be conducted to examine its extent and effects in the United States. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, many of the women we are uplifting and honoring have been subjected to threats of violence and intimidation. The resolution calls on the U.S. government to adopt policies that promote women’s political participation and help mitigate violence against women in politics in the United States and abroad.
“…women have been on the frontlines of social justice movements around the world and throughout our Nation’s history…[and]…violence against women in politics is a specific, gendered phenomenon stemming from a resistance to women’s increased political participation and intending to undermine women as political actors,” portions of the resolution read.
The introduction comes after the world celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, which recognizes the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women while highlighting the work left to do to defend women’s rights and fight for full equity.
“Receiving constant death threats—including against my family—will not silence me, but this kind of hate and threat of violence should not be the inherent cost of any woman participating in politics,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “The rhetoric in politics today has undeniably led to an increase in political violence, especially threats against women holding political office or appointments.”
According to the 2018 Violence Against Women in Politics Report by UN Women and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, women of color appear to be disproportionately affected by it and risks of political engagement are likely higher for women of marginalized communities. A recent study of U.S. mayors, which found that female mayors are more likely than men to experience most types of violence and abuse, also indicates such incidents are not out of the ordinary for women in U.S. politics generally. Congresswoman Tlaib spoke on the House floor on the issue in March of 2020—and it has only continued to gain international prominence since.
“I’m proud to join Representative Tlaib in introducing this resolution to acknowledge what so many of us know all too well: violence against women is a systemic problem that also uniquely harms women in politics, especially women of color,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “Since coming to Congress, I have received countless death threats, endured endless microaggressions and frequent veiled attacks — even by my own colleagues. All of those have only strengthened my resolve. I am more committed than ever to ensure that women — Black women in particular — are not only empowered to join civic life, but are also protected when they do make the courageous decision to actively participate in political life.”
“Women in politics are all too familiar with the constant barrage of hate and vitriol we receive. And this is an unfortunate truth for women globally, at all levels of government. But even in the face of constant misogyny and racism, we hope to create a more welcoming and safe space for women in politics,” said Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. “I’m proud to join Congresswoman Tlaib in introducing this resolution to protect women in politics and encourage their participation.”
“Women are subject to fear, intimidation, threats and, in some cases, violence, to deter them from participating in politics,” said Congresswoman Omar. “It is true here in the United States and around the world, and this phenomenon is especially acute for women from marginalized communities. The United States should be leading a global effort to increase women’s participation in political life, and hold opponents of women’s political rights accountable. I am proud to join my colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib in doing just that.”
“As women in politics—and women of color—we are all too familiar with the vitriol and constant threats of violence that come with claiming our rightful place in the world and a seat at the table of our democracy,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “But the relentless and misogynistic attempts to intimidate, debase and silence us because of our gender only strengthen our resolve in pursuit of equality and justice. We must never accept this violence as simply the cost of women’s participation in civic and political life and must continue to raise awareness and root out these sexist attacks wherever they take place. I am proud to join Representative Tlaib in introducing this resolution, which recognizes violence against women in politics as the global crises that it is and affirms the rights of women everywhere to serve our communities in halls of power.”
The full text of the resolution can be found here.