Sandra Håkansson defends her thesis on 20 October

2023-06-02

Sandra Håkansson defends her thesis Politicians under threat: Gender aspects of violence against political representatives on 20 October at 13:15.

The defence will take place in Brusewitzsalen. You may also follow the event via Zoom.

Sandra Håkansson Foto Mikael Wallerstedt

The external reviewer is Hilde Coffe, Professor in Politics, University of Bath.

The members of the examining committee are Professor Jan Teorell, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Associate Professor Emma von Essen, Department of Sociology, Uppsala University and Professor Maria Eriksson Baaz, Department of Government, Uppsala University (chair of the public defence).

Welcome to Brusewitzsalen, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala!

Politicians under threat: Gender aspects of violence against political representatives

Politicians increasingly face threats, harassment and intimidation. Physical as well as psychological violence targeting elected officials have direct implications for democracy.

Modern democracy builds on elected representatives, i.e. politicians, acting for the represented, i.e. citizens. Hindering elected officials in this process undermines the democratic system. Attacks directed at women politicians can have particularly severe consequences since this can increase political inequality.

This thesis studies in what way violence against political representatives is (and is not) a gendered phenomenon. The results demonstrate, among other things, that women and men at higher political positions such as MPs, mayors and committee chairs often experience psychological violence. The majority of these experience some form of violence every year, and prominent women politicians face the most violence. The risk of violence exposure increases with the level of power for both women and men, but more dramatically so for women: the higher the level of power, the greater the gender gap in violence exposure. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that violence has more extensive consequences for women’s political representation than for men’s. For example, both male and female politicians abstain from public debate and from engaging with certain issues because of violence, but women do so to a much greater extent than men. Another consequence of violence against politicians is that the importance of male coded characteristics such as strength, courage, and non-emotionality increases for politicians. This can disadvantage women since they often are assumed to be the opposite.

Overall, the thesis demonstrates that violence against politicians disrupts the functioning of democracy and increases women’s political marginalization. In stark contrast to the democratic principle of political equality, women politicians enjoy far worse conditions than male counterparts and are hindered in carrying out their political representation.

Find out more about Sandra Håkansson here

Full-text available on DiVA open access

Public Defences

Last modified: 2023-11-23