Attacking Women or their Policies? Understanding Violence against Women in Politics

83 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2023

See all articles by Gianmarco Daniele

Gianmarco Daniele

University of Milan - Faculty of Law; Bocconi University

Gemma Dipoppa

Brown University, Political Science

Massimo Pulejo

University of Milan - Faculty of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 29, 2023

Abstract

Surveys across countries indicate that female politicians are more often targets of violence compared to males. Why are women attacked more? Is this due to their gender, or to correlated factors? We provide the first causal evidence that violence is driven by gender: leveraging 12 years of data on attacks against Italian politicians, we show that marginally elected female mayors, similar in all respects to their male colleagues, are attacked three times more. We argue that violence can stem from two distinct sources: identity-based motives and divergent policymaking. Attacks concentrate where female empowerment in politics is highest, consistent with a misogynistic backlash hypothesis. Instead, there are no gender differences in expenditures and corruption, indicating that women’s policies do not motivate attacks. Violence can have pernicious consequences: female mayors are less likely to rerun for office after an attack, underscoring how violence may foster the persistence of the political gender gap.

Suggested Citation

Daniele, Gianmarco and Dipoppa, Gemma and Pulejo, Massimo, Attacking Women or their Policies? Understanding Violence against Women in Politics (September 29, 2023). BAFFI CAREFIN Centre Research Paper No. 207, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4587677 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4587677

Gianmarco Daniele (Contact Author)

University of Milan - Faculty of Law ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
20122 Milano
Italy

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Gemma Dipoppa

Brown University, Political Science ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gemmadipoppa.com

Massimo Pulejo

University of Milan - Faculty of Law

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