At the end of 2017, millions of women used the #MeToo hashtag to draw attention to widespread sexual harassment and assault around the world. In British politics, female politicians, staff members, and journalists opened up about their own experiences, provoking the resignation and party suspension of a number of male Cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament. This article explores how this issue got on the political agenda, what features of politics might foster harassment and discourage reporting, and what solutions might be pursued to tackle this problem. It argues that sexual harassment should be understood as a systemic, cultural problem, rather than a question of problematic individuals. Ignoring the issue of sexual harassment in politics, the article concludes, has serious consequences for gender equality—as well as for democracy itself, reducing policy effectiveness, distorting the political pipeline, and diminishing political transparency and accountability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- British politics
- Gender and politics
- Labour party
- Sexual harassment
- Women in politics