Be­gin ad­dress­ing the in­creased lev­els of on­line bul­ly­ing women in the pub­lic eye re­ceive?

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

In­deed, women in pol­i­tics need courage. Women make up less than a third of Par­lia­ments across the EU on av­er­age. In Malta, women ac­count for six per cent of se­nior min­is­ters against 27 per cent in the EU on av­er­age. Fe­male politi­cians still face a lot of sex­ism and ha­rass­ment around the world, in­clud­ing in Europe. A re­cent study by the In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Union (IPU) showed that four out of five fe­male par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 39 coun­tries have been sub­ject to hos­tile be­hav­iour caus­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal harm or fear and 44 out of 50 said they had re­ceived threats of death, rape, beat­ing or ab­duc­tion dur­ing their terms.

Hate-speech on­line has also af­fected me. When I started my work as a Com­mis­sioner, my Face­book page was the tar­get of large amounts of abu­sive lan­guage and I had to close down the ac­count. What is wor­ry­ing is that the incite­ment to vi­o­lence on­line can in some cases lead to vi­o­lence in re­al­ity.

As a Com­mis­sion, we want to ad­dress this is­sue and make sure that ev­ery­body can use so­cial net­works without fear of ha­rass­ment. This is why we work to­gether with so­cial me­dia com­pa­nies to limit hate speech on the in­ter­net. We agreed on a code of con­duct with Face­book,

Vi­o­lence against women: this is a very dif­fi­cult is­sue as a large pro­por­tion of women who have been sex­u­ally or phys­i­cally as­saulted tend not to re­port the fact. On an EU-wide level, what is the Com­mis­sion’s strat­egy on tack­ling this is­sue?

End­ing vi­o­lence against women is an is­sue of pri­or­ity for me. It still con­cerns all EU coun­tries and peo­ple from all so­cial back­grounds. The 2014 sur­vey of the Fun­da­men­tal Rights Agency shows that 22 per cent of Mal­tese women have ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal vi­o­lence, sex­ual vi­o­lence, or both since the age of 15. Fifty per cent of all women have ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual ha­rass­ment and 25 per cent have ex­pe­ri­enced stalk­ing. It is cru­cial to end gen­der-based vi­o­lence in all coun­tries of the Euro­pean Union, as it has no place in our so­ci­eties.

I will launch a one-year cam­paign to com­bat vi­o­lence against women at the end of this year, and I will work closely with the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment on this sub­ject dur­ing the up­com­ing Pres­i­dency.

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