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Women Under Attack

The Backlash Against Female Politicians

Targeted: Marielle Franco, Jo Cox, Caroline Spelman, and Diane Rwigara Left to right: Ellis Rua / AP Images; Yui Mok / AP Images; Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters; Jean Bizimana / Reuters

In recent years, a rising tide of women’s activism has swept across the world. Online and on the streets, millions of women have raised their voices and called for action against systemic abuse, harassment, and discrimination. This activism has translated to the ballot box, with higher numbers of women running for office than ever before.

In 2018, women in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq brought their fight for equal rights to the political arena, with unprecedented numbers of female candidates running in parliamentary elections: 417 in Afghanistan and 2,011 in Iraq. From 2005 to 2018, Lebanon saw more than a 27-fold increase in the number of female parliamentary candidates, from only four to 111. In the United States, over 500 women—a record number—ran for Congress or for statewide office in 2018. And this past spring, local elections in Ireland and national elections in India and Japan featured more female candidates running for office than in any

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