The link between violence against women (VAW) and women’s political engagement is a complex one, deeply rooted in patriarchal systems of gender relations.In the literature consulted for this query, convincing arguments are made about the connection between VAW and women’s engagement in political processes. The link between VAW and women’s under-representation in politics is mutually reinforcing. Research also shows that “women’s isolation from public and community life can contribute to increased violence. Women who become more involved in community groups and social networks decrease their vulnerability; they get support and access practical solutions such as legal protection, counselling and advice.
The literature also argue that the relationship between VAW and governance needs to be addressed, because VAW is a “governance failure”, as is the under-representation of women in politics. The two issues are linked and a recent report by Action Aid concludes that “governments would do well to recognise how the two issues are linked: violence against women acts as a structural barrier to women’s participation in politics and public life. Indeed women are often placed at increased risk of violence the further they move into public life and politics. The relationship between the two needs to be tackled for either to make any progress.”