The Strategist

Rape Threats Prevent Women From Expressing Their Political Views In the U.K.

04/07/2015 - 14:39

Despite the efforts being made to reach out to female population of U.K. in order to engage them in the political campaigns before the coming election, twitter displays a majority of male profile. Hannah Henderson seeks to find the reason behind it.

United Kingdom – 07 April 2015 – Hannah Henderson of BBC reports that the approaching U.K. election has been the subject of much talk in twitter, but the noticeable thing is that, twitter discussions about the concerned matter has drawn mostly men’s comments. Therefore, Hannah Henderson questions the comparative silence from the women population of the country. The social media has much ridiculed the launch of “Labour's Pink Battle Bus” on the initiative of Harriet Harman. Nevertheless, the intended message behind this launch was to bring the fact that almost “nine million women” didn’t exercise their rights to vote during the election of 2010 "because they just don't think that politicians have any interest in their lives". Consequently, the political parties informed that they themselves would reach out to women but unfortunately the twitter trend recordings of BBC portray the opposite. Yet, the parties are making constant effort to engage women‘s interest in the coming election, especially the regular internet users. In fact, the website of Mumsnet, are striking live conversations with the users as a “part of the online camping trail” wherein Harriet Harman, Nick Clegg the deputy Prime Minister, Brandon Lewis the “Conservative Housing Minister” and Natalie Bennett have participated. In spite of the efforts made online, the twitter platform has become the main hub for “political debate(s)”. Looking at the twitter hashtags trail one observes the overwhelming participations of men, wherein seventy five percent of the tweets were of men users and the rest twenty five were of women. However, keeping the limitations of the twitter algorithms that detect whether the user is a male or a female based on the remarks, there could definitely be a marginal error. Therefore, twitter was unable to disclose the exact number of male and female users to BBC Trending. Moreover, the hashtag patterns revealed “an interesting degree of variation between parties.” The #Libdem tag had the astonishing male profile of eighty four percent, whereas a smaller party’s #Libdem tag attracted stronger female support as the latter informed BBC Trending that: "...winning over women voters is key to winning in a range of marginal seats. It's certainly something all parties face". Most of the parties had similar hashtag usage patterns of male profiles which more or less amounted upto eighty percent of the total. The female profile mostly fluctuated within 20% to 40% of the total while Greens had the maximum women participants. According to Matt McGrail, the online consultant of Velocity Digital which is based at Edinburgh, the parties headed by women leaders have managed to increase their female profile above 20%. He adds: "During the Scottish Referendum the debates happening on social media were dominated by male voices. I had expected a more diverse discussion with the general election because Nicola Sturgeon has been quite open about wanting to promote greater equality for women". However, Laura Bates, heading the project of “Everyday Sexism”, informs BBC Trending that “aggressive tone” and the regular warnings received by women for openly expressing their political views on twitter could be the explanation for the less women participation. Bates even receives regular exemplary cases of rape threats and “violent assault” on women for the said reason. However, women seem to prefer Facebook over twitter because the latter is a less aggressive platform informs the Liberal Democrats though any male-female user breakups wasn’t available with Facebook. References: