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We must reject Political Violence against Women

Last week was full of controversies about the political succession of the eldest party in the history of the island, culminating with the sad scene of the vice president of the Popular "Democratic" Party, where she held a press conference literally on the street because the party leadership did not give her access to its facilities. And make no mistake, this is not political gossip. This is pure political violence against women in Puerto Rico.

Violence against women in political spaces is one of the main barriers to women’s access to positions of leadership, policy-making and political power. No country can call itself truly democratic if it ignores and attempts to suppress the majority of its population. Even if we are treated as a minority, women represent 52% of the population and the electoral force.

Political violence against women continues to be one of the main barriers to a full exercise of citizenship and the full access of the most basic rights of every citizen in any democracy- civil and political rights.

Although sustained efforts have been made in recent years to promote women’s access and exercise of power in democratic institutions, the practice has shown to be violent, sexist and an exclusive form of politics. Placing women who currently occupy political positions in levels of subordination and/or in reproduction of misogynistic speeches and practices that even go against their own interests as women.

The actions of political violence against women can be seen in the attempts to invisibilize women, discredit them, make derogatory comments about their abilities as women, make jokes or sexist comments, and denying them spaces and facilities to which they are entitled as party members or not providing them with the resources to carry out their duties. Political violence against women is also seen in workplace and/or sexual harassment, as a means of weakening a woman self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

Political violence against women is a deeply rooted phenomenon in Puerto Rican political life and must be strongly rejected in order to help normalize the presence of women as holders of power. Political will is indispensable to eradicate misogyny and sexism from our culture and generate actions to eradicate practices that have a negative effect on, and often take, women’s lives. Let’s raise our voices.


Op-Ed originally published in Spanish in El Nuevo Día:

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