Preventing Violence Against Women in Elections

A Programming Guide

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This Guide highlights the often-shocking examples of VAWE around the world, and showcases the innovative prevention and response measures being tested. It is intended for those best positioned to act to prevent and mitigate VAWE, including international organizations and 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 of political parties, particularly the leadership of those parties, electoral management bodies, civil society organizations, women’s groups and gender equality activists. Ending violence against women in elections is a responsibility shared by all actors at all levels across the political and electoral spectrum and will bring rewards for all.

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In defining VAWE, our starting point is to recognize that (a) GBV and VAW have an impact upon women in the political sphere, but measurements in this area have thus far neglected the political sphere;32 and (b) the field of political and election-related violence study and programming has largely been gender-blind in its understanding, analysis and collection of data, and that there are very specific forms of electoral-related violence which are gender- based. Overlaying a gender perspective on the standard electoral-related violence definitions, and considering the specific forms, nature and consequences of VAW compared to violence experienced by men, provide a solid basis for identifying and defining VAWE.

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