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How would men react to the online abuse female politicians receive?

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Susan Devaney
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To show the extent of the abuse women face online, we tasked comedian Athena Kugblenu with trolling men while trying to do their jobs. 

Earlier this year, an international study confirmed an alarming trend: the online treatment of female politicians is far worse than their male counterparts.

By analysing social media conversations about female and male political leaders in the UK, South Africa and Chile, the study found that the women were three times more likely than the men to receive sexist comments.

Three-quarters of Twitter posts about politicians’ appearance or marital status were directed towards women, rather than men. And, of course, all of the posts were entirely negative.

Even though male and female politicians received similar levels of derogatory comments overall, women were “three times more likely to see derogatory comments directly related to their gender”.

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This is how the online abuse of women politicians is affecting our democracy

Both PM Theresa May and Labour’s Diane Abbott have been heavily subjected to online abuse. Before the election in 2017, half of all tweets Abbott was sent were abusive. And May received three times as many comments on her physical appearance than Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.

Unfortunately, online abuse is now deterring women from entering the field today.

Which is why to highlight the extent of the abuse women (especially female politicians) face online, we tasked comedian Athena Kugblenu with trolling men while they were trying to get on with their jobs. And, as it turns out, not one of them could even bring themselves to read aloud the abusive tweets women have actually been sent online.

Considering pursuing a career in politics? Read our inspiring advice from women political leaders and watch our video in full above. 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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