A study [text, PDF] released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) [advocacy website] on Wednesday shows that female members of parliament (MPs) face higher levels of sexism, violence and harassment than reported. The IPU conducted interviews with more than 50 female MPs from countries across the world. A brief overview [text] of the results show that over 80 percent of participants have been the targets of psychological violence, just over 65 percent of participants have suffered from sexual insults and 20 percent have encountered physical violence. IPU promulgated the study in order to “alert parliaments to the issue,” define the issue, and encourage lawmakers to promote change. The organization said the issues faced by female MPs “impede gender equality and undermine the foundations of democracy.”
Sex and gender-based violence continues to be a worldwide issue. Earlier this month the UN released [JURIST report] a report documenting high rates of rape and perpetrator impunity in Liberia. According to the World Health Organization, between 61 and 77 percent of women in Libera report having been raped during the nation’s 14-year civil conflict. This same month the Center for Civilians in Conflict criticized [JURIST report] UN peacekeepers in South Sudan for failing to protect civilians from abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence, during an outbreak of fighting in the country that took place in July. In September UN experts urged [JURIST report] states to protect women and girls in the movement of refugees and migrants by adhering to international human rights conventions and standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. Migrant women and girls are at a high risk of gender-based violence while in transit and may also face intersecting forms of discrimination based race, nationality, or religion.