Hillary Clinton Says Online Misogyny Stopping UK Women From Standing In General Election

Former US secretary of state says an unnamed female politician told her she would not stand in the election, adding: "I just can't take it".
Clinton speaking at Swansea University on Friday
Clinton speaking at Swansea University on Friday
Matthew Horwood via Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has said a “heavily misogynistic” online atmosphere has discouraged British women from standing in the general election.

The former US secretary of state also claimed social media culture was serving the “amplification of hatred” which she suggested influenced “political assassination” of Labour MP Jo Cox.

And she said she had met an unnamed British female politician who had decided not to stand in the December 12 election amid online abuse, who told her: “I just can’t take it”.

Clinton highlighted the “intimidation” faced by female politicians while leading a panel discussion at Swansea University.

“A number of people told me about women not standing for parliament this time because of the threats they have received”

She said: “Unfortunately, the atmosphere online is heavily misogynistic because apparently [...] people – and it’s predominantly, though not exclusively, men – spend their time going after women of prominence in whatever field they are in and just can’t let it go.

“What they say is often vile, and when I was in London over the last few days, a number of people told me about women not standing for parliament this time because of the threats they have received.

“And it’s really particular to them. Threats of death and terrible attacks, including going after their families, in particular mentioning their children.”

She added: “It is a terrible loss and a loss to democracy if anybody is intimidated out of running, and disproportionately the people choosing not to run in the first instance or for re-election are women.”

Clinton, who has said misogyny played a role in her 2016 presidential election loss to Donald Trump, also suggested social media was to blame.

She added: “All kinds of hatred and bias has been with us from the beginning of time. That is no surprise, but something about the amplification of the hatred attracts even more people.

“And of course I can’t help but think about Jo Cox, who was the target and victim of a political assassination.”

Clinton called Trump a “24/7 bully” when saying the public could not leave the issue of intimidation to politicians.

She told the audience: “We had an explosion of bullying in American schools, and you know... much of it is inspired by the behaviour of our president, who is a, as you know, 24/7 bully on all kinds of issues.

“That is the highest office in our land and that is the role model of our children. The children are picking up on those cues.”

Asked if discussing the issues made her want a second run for the US presidency, Clinton said: “No, but it makes me more determined to support women like those on this panel and to speak out.”

Clinton, whose grandparents were Welsh, was speaking at the university that named its law school the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law in 2017.


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