Ethnic minority women reveal abuses suffered in elections
Ethnic minority women have revealed the racist abuse and sexual harassment they have suffered in campaigning and canvassing.
One interviewee in a new report to be released on Thursday said: “Some people just open the door, just see your face and close it.”
Another described the impact of racist and sexist incidents when canvassing: “It actually puts the fear of God in me in a way, which I couldn’t cope with, and then it gave me want to always have eyes in the back of my head because when canvassing you don’t know who’s following you.
The report, produced by researchers at Maynooth University on behalf of the National Traveler Women’s Forum and the African and Migrant Women’s Network, recommends that quotas for women running for office here also incorporate a quota for minority women ethnic.
This will help address the problem of underrepresentation in elective office, the researchers suggest.
Dr Pauline Cullen, who co-prepared the study, said the campaign and canvassing was a “mixed experience” for the women they interviewed.
“Experiences of abuse ranged widely from racism and sexism online and offline, to racist and sexist harassment, abuse and bullying ‘in person’.
Dr Cullen said women from different minorities who participated in the research shared experiences of exclusion from electoral politics, despite being engaged in essential political work within their own communities.
The report also noted that many EU migrant women recognize the “benefits that whiteness brings to them” in contrast to the experience of Traveler women and women of colour.
The report adds: “Yet while all of the participating women acknowledged experiencing racism and sexism, some downplayed these experiences and their effects. There is obvious apprehension in raising issues of sexism and racism due to the political costs of doing so. There is also a lack of clarity as to where to report these issues.
It recommends a number of measures to address the problems faced by minority women seeking election.
This includes legislation for the local election gender quota of 40% women candidates to incorporate a quota for ethnic minority women as well as reserved seats for Travelers at the local level.
It also calls for a state funding program for political parties to diversify their membership and candidate lists, and for the implementation of hate crime/speech legislation as well as the implementation of anti-racism and anti-sexism media codes of practice.