Women politicians, like Doreen Nyanjura and Olive Namazzi in Uganda, face a barrage of online abuse while advocating for their causes. The abuse ranges from personal attacks on their appearance, marital status, and age to misogynistic mockery. Nyanjura, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Kampala, often experiences increased harassment on social media when advocating for gender equality. A survey conducted in Uganda found that around 50% of women leaders and high-profile woman faced trolling online. Despite the abuse, these woman refuse to back down and strive to be positive examples for other woman in public life.
Harassment and Misogyny Online
Nyanjura and Namazzi often receive derogatory comments and threats on social media platforms. Nyanjura faced ridicule for being single and was accused of using sex to advance her career. The abuse escalated when she advocated for gender equity. Namazzi, who has a disability, faced mockery for her limp and specially made shoes. Both politicians received insults even from educated colleagues, highlighting the pervasive nature of online abuse against women politicians.
Surveys in Uganda have highlighted the widespread gender-based online violence faced by woman in public life. One-third of women between 18 and 65 years reported experiencing gender-based online violence, which increased to 50% among woman leaders. Many women politicians stopped using social media due to the abuse they faced. Additionally, woman parliamentarians, especially those with disabilities, under 40, unmarried, or from minority groups, encountered more violence, with male peers and rival parties being the main sources of abuse.
Empowering Women Politicians
Despite the relentless abuse, women like Nyanjura and Namazzi are determined to stay active on social media and continue their political work. They understand the importance of visibility and the role they play as examples for other women. By standing firm in the face of adversity, they hope to empower other women to enter politics and advocate for their rights.
Women politicians in Uganda, such as Doreen Nyanjura and Olive Namazzi, confront significant challenges due to online abuse and misogyny. Despite this, they remain steadfast in their political pursuits, serving as beacons of inspiration for other woman in public life. Addressing gender-based online violence is essential to ensure that woman can fully participate in politics and create a more inclusive and equitable society.