Based on research and conversations with women it’s clear that violence against women in all forms is a significant barrier to women’s political leadership in PEI. According to the Women in Prince Edward Island: Statistical Review 2015, women composed the clear majority of people looking for services for violence related issues in PEI.
In 2018 the Coalition conducted an online survey in partnership with Women’s Network to identify barriers to women’s participation in leadership in PEI. Over 62% of survey respondents identified online harassment and violence against women as a barrier to women’s political participation in PEI. One survey respondent summed it up, stating “Women are viciously attacked - much more so than male candidates. I know many women who are not interested in the harassment and abuse.”
Violence against women in political leadership is most certainly underreported, which makes it challenging to know how many women in PEI are impacted. However, the Coalition has identified examples of both overt and subtle forms of harassment and violence directed toward women candidates.
Gender based violence is a problem that needs to be addressed within all levels of society including political institutions. This project focused on preventing violence against women by first raising awareness within the organization about developing trauma informed approaches to policy. The emergence of the #metoo and #timesup movements shed light on women’s experiences of sexual harassment and violence in workplaces, including political workplaces. It has also highlighted the need for resources and opportunities for organizations like the Coalition to focus specifically on the topic of preventing violence against women.
To this regard, the Coalition has conducted research on trauma-informed policies within political organizations so as to have a tool to provide to different political institutions, and beyond, to ensure spaces are as safe as possible for women and other groups.
The report can be found here.