Senior female Conservative MPs have been reading out sexist abuse about themselves including one tweet branding the home secretary, Amber Rudd, “less attractive than Medusa’s fugly sister” to highlight the problem ahead of International Women’s Day.
The video released by the Conservatives features Rudd, Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister, social care minister Caroline Dinenage and Scottish MP Kirstene Hair, talking about the abuse they have been sent.
Rudd also read out some abuse in a video for Joe, a website aimed at young men, including tweets calling her a traitor, a “heartless shitsack”, a “disgusting human being” and a “Brussels swamp rat”.
“The fact that people want to talk to you like this is really horrid,” Rudd said. “I don’t mind hearing people’s frank views about me or my policies but I do mind them using this sort of language.”
She said this was the “tip of the iceberg” and said it would be a struggle to get better gender balance in parliament “when women are hounded and subject to unacceptable abuse on social media”.
Dinenage read a tweet calling her a “worthless cunt” and Hair referred to one that called her a “silly wee lassie” who “fits into the blonde stereotype”.
The Conservative video goes on to show the women talking about what they consider their achievements despite the sexist abuse casting doubt on their abilities.
The videos have been made to mark International Women’s Day on Friday, which has a “better balance” theme this year.