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Protecting politically active women from online hate

Whether a member of the Bundestag, climate activist, or local politician: More and more women in politics are reporting increasing online violence against themselves. As a result, one in ten female members of the Bundestag is contemplating leaving politics. (Source: Report München 2019)

HateAid and the Alfred Landecker Foundation counteract this increasing digital violence against politically active women with their ‘Close the gap: Securing women’s voices in politics’ project.

The goal is to protect women in politics from sexist insults, rape threats, and other forms of digital violence. This aims to improve the conditions for current and aspiring female politicians, stopping hate from displacing women from politics.

What we have in mind

How we support women in politics

  • Generate data: With our research partners, the Technical University of Munich and the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, we are generating new scientific insights into digital violence against women.
  • Empowering women: We support and strengthen (aspiring) female politicians through an empowerment programme.
  • More awareness: Through campaigns and public outreach, we raise awareness about digital violence against politically engaged women.
  • Driving political change: We advocate for improvements in legislation and law enforcement, on platforms, and in civil society to protect women in politics at national and EU level.

In 2024, we will ask politically active women in Germany and Austria about their experiences with digital violence as part of a scientific investigation.

The goal is to gain new insights into how digital violence impacts female politicians in their work and private lives. With this knowledge, we will develop our empowerment program for politically active women and derive political demands.

In the European Parliament and many other places, we will forge new alliances with politicians to initiate change.

Figures and statistics

How women in politics are being harassed

47

of the female mayors affected by hostility have considered withdrawing from politics due to concerns about their safety and that of their families.

Source: Körber-Stiftung 2021

64

of female members of the Bundestag have already received (online) hate messages.

Source: Spiegel 2021

21

of female Members of the European Parliament have already been targets of rape threats.

Source: TUM 2023

Digital violence has sadly become a commonplace experience for politically active women. This includes demeaning remarks about appearance, rape threats, and misogynistic comments that attempt to relegate female politicians to the kitchen or perpetuate outdated gender roles. Antifeminists and other misanthropes aim to intimidate women in crucial positions through digital violence.

Consequences for our society

A threat to our democracy

This hatred has serious consequences. Fearing for their own safety or that of their families, many politically engaged women withdraw. This may mean that female politicians no longer speak out on certain political issues. It could also lead to women in politics and activists withdrawing completely from the public eye.

Anna-Lena von Hodenberg, Geschäftsführerin HateAid

Copyright: HateAid

‘The protection of women in politics is crucial for our democracy. Digital violence not only threatens the safety of the affected women and their families but also undermines the fundamental right to engage in politics freely and without fear.

By advocating for protection against online harassment, we promote a strong democracy and a more just society for all.’

Anna-Lena von Hodenberg, HateAid CEO

Our democracy functions well only when everyone can participate in public discourse and feel secure while doing so. This is what we aim to contribute to with ‘Close the gap: Securing women’s voices in politics‘.

Logo der Alfred Landecker Foundation

Alfred Landecker Foundation

Our commitment to less hatred and hate speech against female politicians is realized through the financial support of the Alfred Landecker Foundation.

We support you

Are you affected by online violence?

We can help you. Contact our consultation.