Tuesday 31 January 2023

UN evidences hate speech towards women in politics in Costa Rica

In October alone, the month in which the electoral campaign began, more than 2,100 conversations related to hate speech against women in politics were recorded.

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31 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA (EFE) The United Nations (UN) reported on Tuesday that it found evidence of “strong messages of hatred, discrimination and violence” against women who participate in politics in Costa Rica.

Image for illustrative purposes

The UN carried out two studies, one jointly with the Centro de Investigación en Comunicación (CICOM) – Observatory of Hate Speeches of the Center for Research in Communication of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and another with the Proyecto Punto y Aparte and the COES company; and both revealing the existence of hate messages on social media.

According to the data of the investigations, only in the month of October, the month in which the 2022 presidential electoral campaign began, more than 2,100 conversations related to hate speech against women in politics were registered. Eighty-nine percent of those hate messages were delivered by men.

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“We must ensure that women can participate in politics without being subjected to hate speech, discrimination or limitations of any kind, just because they are women. Costa Rica must point out and eradicate all messages and actions that harm women in their public and political life,” affirmed the UN coordinator in Costa Rica, Allegra Baiocchi.

The analysis of Punto y Aparte and COES indicates that 68% of these messages include foul, discriminatory, or violent language against women.

The attacks were given as a reaction to the news from the media, as well as information shared by opinion leaders.

Likewise, the majority of hate messages were directed at a female legislator, a female aspirant to the legislature and a presidential candidate.

Baiocchi also pointed out that the United Nations is supporting the “search for solutions to these great challenges facing the country and recognized the importance of investing in education for gender equality from an early level, the importance of academia continuing to contribute research and search for evidence”.

For its part, in the analysis carried out together with the CICOM, three events were identified that promoted hate speech in recent weeks: the possibility of granting asylum in Costa Rica to Afghan women, the resignation of their party on the part of a legislator and the complaint against a presidential candidate for alleged sexual harassment.

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CICOM researcher Larissa Tristán explained that regarding the possible arrival of Afghan women in the country, 87% expressed rejection of this possibility and linked it to various messages containing hate speech. While the attacks were directed towards authorities, Afghan women, foreign women, women in general, organizations and institutions.

“Sexism and misogyny are not generated in social networks, but rather reflect broader structures of patriarchal domination and their eradication must begin with a much broader cultural change that involves families, educational centers and communities,” said Tristán.

Regarding the case of the complaint of sexual harassment by a presidential candidate, 85% of the comments detected delegitimized the complaints, while only 8% gave them validity.

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