VUB raises awareness of violence against women

VUB raises awareness of violence against women

On Monday 25 March, the Vrouwenraad – an umbrella organisation of associations working for equal opportunities – and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) are organising a study afternoon on the subject of gender and online violence against politicians. It will take place in the context of the upcoming elections. Online violence is offensive, frightening and demotivating. It inhibits female politicians in their function and ambitions and is a reason why many women step down from politics or choose not to become involved in the first place.

“Gender and online violence against politicians” is an open lecture from the Political Parties and Elections course, led by Prof Silvia Erzeel, and Governance and Policy, led by Prof Didier Caluwaerts. Several female academics will speak. Dr Liza Mügge of the University of Amsterdam is the keynote speaker and Prof Erzeel – of the VUB research group DFUTURE – will discuss her recent research. The objective of the event is to promote collective awareness of the issue.

Political parties also have a role to play. There will be testimonies from female politicians, and a panel discussion with party representatives will look at the measures parties have implemented to work towards a violence-free political environment. The speakers will be Nadia Naji (Groen), Lise Vandecasteele (PVDA), Tess Minnens (Open VLD), Hannelore Goeman (Vooruit), Kathleen Depoorter (N-VA) and Mathilde Vermeire (CD&V). Robin Devroe of UGent and VUB and the DFUTURE research group will moderate.

The event takes place during weKONEKT-week. VUB, as an urban engaged university, alongside ULB and EhB, is connecting students to the richness, complexity and beauty of Brussels in collaboration with university communities and partners. This is done through a range of lessons, excursions, workshops and other educational activities in and with the city.

Tickets are available free of charge here.


  • Keynote by Liza Mügge (University of Amsterdam): “Violence against women in politics: consequences and coping strategies”
  • Silvia Erzeel (VUB) explains her recent research with Anne Van Bavel and Karen Celis on gender and online violence against politicians in Belgium
  • Debate
    • panel discussion with representatives of the political parties. Panellists will assess the measures parties are taking, internally and externally, to achieve a violence-free political environment. The speakers will be Nadia Naji (Groen), Lise Vandecasteele (PVDA), Tess Minnens (Open VLD), Hannelore Goeman (Vooruit), Kathleen Depoorter (N-VA) and Mathilde Vermeire (CD&V). Robin Devroe (UGent & VUB, DFUTURE research group) will moderate.
  • Video testimonials from female politicians
    • featuring Hafsa El-Bazioui (Groen), Katia Segers (Vooruit), An Capoen (N-VA), Meryame Kitir (Vooruit), Goedele Liekens (Open VLD), Eva De Bleeker (Open VLD), Lise Vandecasteele (PVDA) and Nawal Farih (CD&V)


Practical information

Monday 25 March

​Lakensestraat 146, 1000 Brussels


Klara Segers
​+32 (0) 477 46 70 98





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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

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The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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