Participants wanted

In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the first votes for women, the Fawcett Society's focus is on removing the barriers to women's participation in political life by driving change at political party, parliamentary and local government level.

There are a number of different strands to the work the Facwett Society is carrying out but one aspect of our current focus is on the culture within Parliament and political parties. The recent harassment scandal has shone a spotlight on that culture and the scale of sexual harassment is beginning to be uncovered.

Parliament has taken some action to try to address concerns about inappropriate behaviour, notably through the Cross-Party Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy (the Working Group). Although the Working Group has published some important proposals, further work is needed to develop these, and it is important to note that they cover those working on the parliamentary estate and not those working within political party structures.

There are still relatively few first-hand accounts of the sexual harassment that can occur within those structures and the cost of that harassment. That cost includes the impact on individual women who experience harassment and the wider impact on women in public life more generally and on society as a whole.

Obtaining first-hand accounts of harassment is important for a variety of reasons; to provide an evidence base for developing the recommendations currently being considered by the Working Group; to maintain political pressure to ensure that these recommendations are implemented; to document the experiences of and give a voice to women who have experienced harassment; to challenge some aspects of the way in which the sexual harassment scandal has been reported in the media; to help build awareness of the need for change at Westminster and beyond.

In the wake of the harassment allegations in Parliament, The Fawcett Society is working with Hogan Lovells, a leading global law firm, to gather and analyse the testimonies of women in politics who have experienced sexual harassment. The purpose of the analysis will be to draw out general themes from women's testimonies and identify possible policy responses. The findings of the report will be published in an online report in the winter of 2018 and publicised at an event in parliament. The report will not identify the women that have given evidence to the project, either directly or indirectly and will be fully anonymised.

Who are we hoping to obtain evidence from?

We would like to obtain evidence from a wide range of women who have experienced sexual harassment while working in the political environment, including:

  • MPs
  • those working/ volunteering in the parliamentary estate,
  • those working/ volunteering within political party structures. This includes volunteers, unpaid interns.
  • those whose work or voluntary activity involves working alongside politicians or party workers

If you would like to participate in the research, please fill out the consent form and return it to [email protected].

Click here to download the consent form which contains further information.

Once you have returned a consent form, a copy will be given to the law firm. A [female] representative will then contact you to arrange a convenient time to interview you. Interviews will take place either at their offices, at another suitable location that is convenient to you, or by telephone, depending on your preference.