Women’s injuries ‘not taken seriously’

Women are much less likely than men to receive compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) for work-related injuries, new figures show.

In the first half of 2010, 23 percent of men had their compensation applications approved compared to just 13 percent of women, newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports.

The Social Insurance Agency said the discrepancy could be explained by the fact that it is legally obliged to base its assessments on scientific findings in the area of work-related injuries, where research pertaining to male-dominated professions remains predominant.

“It’s unfair to women but we can’t change the rules ourselves,” Monica Svanholm at Försäkringskassan told the newspaper.

But Svend Erik Matthiassen, who conducts research into strain injuries at the University of Gävle, said the agency shared a portion of the blame.

“They’re responsible for how they apply the law and they do have the opportunity to make different assessments. But currently they are very restrictive and often blame women’s pains on age,” he told Dagens Nyheter.

“Middle-aged women who are in pain aren’t taken as seriously as men. It’s sad but true.”

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