Nagma, the Congress candidate from Meerut and Gul Panag, the Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Chandigarh, are prominent women candidates who have faced harassment during campaigning.
But they are no exceptions. Violence against women in politics is rampant. According to a UN-Women report released on Wednesday, 39% women who are in politics in India have been victims of violence as against 47% in Pakistan and 49% in Nepal. A majority of the victims were political greenhorns, young or first-generation politicians.
The joint study by UN-Women and the Centre for Social Research (CSR) carried out in India, Pakistan and Nepal found that women politicians in these countries, especially first generation politicians, face widespread physical/sexual violence, verbal abuse and character assassination.
While 45% women politicians in India have faced physical violence as against 30% in Pakistan and 21% in Nepal, 49% Indian women politicians have faced verbal abuse and another 14% suffered sexual abuse. Character assassination of women politicians was found to be rampant in Nepal (54%) followed by Pakistan (49%) and India (30%).
Though percentage of female voters and women candidates fielded by political parties has increased in all three countries, the percentage of female representatives in national bodies has decreased,” said Ranjana Kumari, director, CSR.
The study, which analysed incidents of violence that occurred in these three countries from 2003 to 2013 found patriarchal mindset behind violence against women politicians.