CAWP Grantees Find Alarming and Disproportionate Rates of Violence and Harassment Against Women Mayors Across Race/Ethnicity

CAWP Grantees Find Alarming and Disproportionate Rates of Violence and Harassment Against Women Mayors Across Race/Ethnicity

New research funded by a grant from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, shows alarming rates of violence, harassment, and threats directed at American mayors, and overlapping marginalized identities affect these experiences in significant ways. This research is described in the new CAWP Research Grant Brief Gender and Race Differences in Mayors’ Experiences of Violence. Moreover, these experiences have disproportionate effects by gender and race/ethnicity: 44.3% of non-Hispanic white women and 31% of women of color have considered leaving office because of hostile experiences, compared to 30.2% of non-Hispanic white men and 20% of men of color.

Researchers on this project are Rebekah Herrick (Oklahoma State University), Sue Thomas (Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation), Heidi Gerbracht (formerly of Equity Agenda and the Women Mayors Network), and Emily Miota (formerly of the Mayors Innovation Project).

Some additional findings in this CAWP Grant Research Brief:

• Among all mayors, more than 90% reported experiencing psychological violence at least once during their tenure in office, almost one quarter of mayors reported at least one threat while in office, and slightly more than 15% suffered physical violence at least once while serving as mayor.

• Non-Hispanic white women reported more psychological violence than men.

• Women of color experienced more threats than other groups.

• Women faced more gendered violence than men.

• Women and men of color experienced more racial violence than non-Hispanic white men and women mayors.

• Women faced more sexualized violence than men.

• Violence depressed the willingness of people to serve and distracts mayors from doing their jobs.

CAWP Research Grants fund research that helps to identify and address barriers to and opportunities for women’s political power; they are possible thanks to the generosity and commitment of Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates company. CAWP has thus far funded 21 projects through our CAWP Research Grants that address a wide array of issues facing women as voters, candidates, officeholders, and activists. Learn more about the program, and the 2020 and 2021 grantee cohorts, at the CAWP Research Grants page.

About CAWP 

The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about women’s political participation in the United States. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about the role of women in American politics, enhance women’s influence in public life, and expand the diversity of women in politics and government. CAWP’s education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership with effective, intersectional, and imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation’s highest offices, CAWP’s five decades of analyzing and interpreting women’s participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.

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