Almost all female politicians who attended the first Women MPs of the World Conference face “opposition to their participation in public life”, a report into the summit has found.
The majority of women from 100 countries, who gathered in the Commons chamber last month, said they had been subjected to online abuse, threats in person and threats to their families. Labour’s Harriet Harman, Mother of the House, in a foreword to the report, noted that once in Parliament many women MPs found they were “overtly discriminated against”.
She said female politicians reported not being called to speak or found themselves unable to sit on, or chair, committees. “They spoke of being criticised for their appearance, including having the temerity to wear lipstick,” she wrote.
Ms Harman also said some younger women MPs were “sexually harassed by older male members of their legislatures”, but that they found working in “women’s caucuses across party” was “essential” for ensuring their demands were met. Ms Harman said: “There are now women in nearly every parliament in the world. We have fought our way in past prejudice and discrimination, often in the face of threats and violence.”