Tlaib joins call for govt action to end violence against women in politics

    U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

    A group of Democratic U.S. House members have introduced a resolution that reads violence against women in politics is “a global phenomenon and that more research should be conducted to examine its extent and effects in the United States.” 

    The measure, sponsored U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), has been endorsed by League of Women Voters of the United States. It also calls on the U.S. government to adopt policies that promote women’s political participation and help mitigate violence against women in politics in the nation and abroad.

    “ …[V]iolence against women in politics is a specific, gendered phenomenon stemming from a resistance to women’s increased political participation and intending to undermine women as political actors,” a portion of the resolution reads.

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    Its introduction comes a week after Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican U.S. House congressional candidate, posted a threatening photo holding a gun alongside images of Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, and Omar. Women of color appear to be disproportionately affected by it and risks of political engagement are likely higher for women of marginalized communities, according to the 2018 Violence Against Women in Politics Report by UN Women and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

    What’s more, a recent study of U.S. mayors found that female mayors are more likely than men to experience most types of violence and abuse. It also indicates that such incidents are not out of the ordinary for women in U.S. politics generally. 

    Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been subjected to death threats, particularly after her emergency actions to combat COVID-19.

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    Tlaib in March spoke on the House floor about the issue.

    “Receiving constant death threats – including against my family – hasn’t stopped me from speaking truth to power, but such hate and risk should not be the inherent cost of any woman participating in politics, regardless of her race, creed, sexual or gender identity, or any other defining quality of who she is,” said Tlaib at the time. “We so often hear the future is female—and I introduce this resolution as a means of securing it. Our future is so much brighter if we can build a world in which women and nonbinary individuals are free to fight for their communities and serve in government without fear of violence and abuse.”

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.