Report Launch: How Women Politicians of Fiji are Treated on Facebook
Remember this web article? Entitled “Research report preview: How are Fiji's women politicians treated on social media?”, the article served as a teaser for the full Report. The Report along with its entire data and analysis is hereby launched.
One may wonder why it took exactly one year to publish the Report. The challenging working conditions caused by the pandemic was an obvious one. Another was the need to conduct a thorough review of how the data taken from Facebook were being presented in the Report, including any adverse legal implications thereof. This we quite frankly underestimated at the start.
This launch article will not repeat the main findings already explained in the March 2021 article along with the accompanying webinar, and in the Report itself. Suffice to say the following from its back cover, “Overall, there were four times as much problematic content related to the Facebook pages of male politicians (133 cases) compared to their female counterparts (32 cases). However, it is important to note that the vast majority of the problematic comments aimed at women politicians were in the sexist category. Compared to their male colleagues, female politicians are treated in a less serious manner on Facebook. Comments on their posts touch on their appearance and personal qualities rather than their politics”.
Women politicians should be taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Women politicians should be respected for their thinking, their policy ideas and their ability to fight for the interests of their constituents—much like their male counterparts. No politicians of either female, male or any other genders should be judged by what clothes and accessories they wear or by the colour of their hair. They should be judged by what they say and stand for.
International IDEA appreciates the partnership of Memo 98 on this project. Much gratitude is directed to them for their patience as well as to their passion towards fighting against online violence, particularly against women politicians. May more good things come out of this pilot research project.