Increasing the Cost of Female Representation? The Gendered effects of Harassment, Abuse and Intimidation towards Parliamentary Candidates in the UK

Sofia Collignon, Wolfgang Rüdig

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Recently, the issue of harassment and intimidation of women in politics in long-established democracies has become a source of concern. Current research emphasises that while women may be more frequently attacked, not all incidents of abuse against women in politics are of a gendered nature. This finding prompts further questions such as are women more frequently targeted because they are women and does such targeting inhibit women from fully participating in political campaigning? Using data from the Representative Audit of Britain's survey of candidates contesting the 2019 General Election, this study shows that harassment has a negative electoral effect for women, even while controlling for the visibility of the candidate. This article argues that the harassment of women candidates in the UK is gendered, both in its motives and outcomes as it forces women to modify their campaign activities in ways that diminish their chances of gaining office. Our findings contribute to the theoretical and empirical understanding of violence towards women in politics and gendered political violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-449
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Issue number4
Early online date23 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Aug 2021


  • VAW-P
  • Harassment
  • Elections
  • Women
  • Politics
  • Candidates

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