Research Hub

Political Violence Targeting Women

Women around the world are facing unprecedented levels of targeted political violence. This violence takes a wide range of forms, including conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls in war zones, attacks on women in politics, and backlash against women’s advancement within patriarchal power structures. Understanding the gender-differentiated consequences of conflict and political disorder is integral to identifying the types of strategies needed to ensure the protection of women and girls relative to the civilian population at large, and to develop approaches aimed at achieving real security equality.

To track these trends, ACLED has created this dedicated Research Hub to provide a platform for near real-time information on political violence targeting women (PVTW) and political violence targeting women in politics (PVTWIP) around the world, including a curated data file, interactive data visualization tools, and a repository of analysis pieces. 

This hub offers near real-time data for use by media, analysts, policymakers, and the public to monitor key PVTW/IP trends and developments around the world. It is updated once a week, on Tuesdays, with data covering events from the previous Saturday through Friday. The data reflect the best available information at the time of release. Following publication, ACLED continues to monitor the details of all events and updates the data accordingly as new or better information becomes available (with updates published on a weekly basis). Users can visit this hub to access the latest data and research all in one place, and can consult methodology resources and interactive tools to support analysis.

ACLED collects data on physical manifestations of PVTW/IP only. Threats, intimidation, and other forms of non-physical harassment are not captured here. PVTW/IP, by definition, also only includes political violence. Domestic, interpersonal, or intimate partner violence, as well as criminal violence, are not captured here. Additionally, ACLED PVTW/IP data only capture political violence targeting women and/or girls. These data do not represent all political violence that affects women and/or girls. This is not a gender disaggregated version of the ACLED dataset. The resources made available through this hub should only be used to support analysis of these specific PVTWI/IP trends. For more information, please consult the methodology documentation hosted on this page below.


Political violence targeting women (PVTW)

PVTW refers to civilian targeting events in which women and/or girls are the ‘target’ of the violence. They are assumed to be the target when the victim(s) of the event are composed entirely of women/girls, when the majority are women/girls, or if the primary target was a woman/girl (e.g. a woman politician attacked alongside two men working as bodyguards). Women/girls can still be victims of civilian targeting without being the ‘target’ of said violence — meaning that PVTW is not a gender disaggregation of all civilian targeting or political violence captured within the ACLED dataset.

PVTW is a subset of all violence targeting civilians.

Political violence targeting women in politics (PVTWIP)

PVTWIP refers to PVTW events in which ‘women in politics’ are specifically targeted. ‘Women in politics’ refers to women who are directly or indirectly engaging in political processes: women candidates for office, politicians, political party supporters, voters, government officials, and activists/human rights defenders/social leaders.

PVTWIP is a subset of PVTW.

Demonstrations featuring women (DFW)

DFW are demonstrations that are made up entirely by women participants or a majority of women participants (e.g. a gathering of mothers of prisoners), involve a women’s group (e.g. Women of Zimbabwe Arise), or are organized around women’s rights or issues specifically (e.g. women’s reproductive rights, or policies around women’s clothing). Events in which women are simply demonstrating alongside men, for example, are not categorized as DFW.

DFW is a subset of all demonstrations.

Curated Data

This file contains all reported PVTW events, including PVTWIP events, as well as all DFW events. Please note that ACLED’s historical coverage varies by region and country (global data are available for 2021 onward). A full list of country and time period coverage is available here.

For an explanation of how ACLED codes and categorizes data, see the ACLED Codebook. For more information, see our Resource Library. Guides specific to this topic include:

Interactive Dashboards

Political Violence Targeting Women (PVTW)

This dashboard displays PVTW events, which are a subset of all incidents of violence targeting civilians captured by ACLED. Use the filter at the top of the dashboard to focus on a specific time period and/or a specific region/country. The dashboard supports analysis of temporal and spatial trends in PVTW, and can help users examine different patterns in PVTW relative to political violence and civilian targeting at large within the same context. The bar charts depict the gender-differentiated consequences of violent conflict and disorder, highlighting variation in the ways that women and girls are targeted and the perpetrators of such violence in comparison to the civilian population at large.

Political Violence Targeting Women in Politics (PVTWIP)

This dashboard displays PVTWIP events, which are a subset of all incidents of PVTW. Use the filter at the top of the dashboard to focus on a specific time period and/or a specific region/country. The dashboard supports analysis aimed at identifying the categories of women in politics that are most at risk across different time periods and political contexts, and includes a spotlight on unique event details. By filtering on target categories, the user can drill down and better understand the unique threats to specific groups of women in politics both within and across time and space.


ACLED researchers have contributed to analysis of PVTW/IP in ACLED reports as well as external blogs, op-eds, white papers, book chapters, and academic articles. Find a selection of the latest analysis below.

External Publications