• Sweden's news in English

Sexual harassment less common in Sweden

The Local · 12 Aug 2010, 08:12

Published: 12 Aug 2010 08:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The study of 12,000 employees in 24 countries places Sweden at the bottom of the harassment league alongside France, with only 3 percent of those surveyed claiming that they had been the subject of sexual approaches from a senior member of staff.

The survey meanwhile showed that globally every tenth person had been subjected to sexual harassment by their boss.

The greatest risk is held by employees in India with 26 percent of respondents claiming to have received unwelcome sexual advances from their boss, according to the global survey by market research firm Ipsos on behalf of the Reuters news agency.

Workers in India were followed by China with 18 percent reporting sexual harassment, Saudi Arabia 16 percent, Mexico 13 percent and South Africa 10 percent.

In Italy 9 percent reported sexual harassment at work, while 8 percent did so in Brazil, Russia, South Korea and the United States. In Britain and Australia the figure was 4 percent.

The news agency writes that the poll comes at a time when several high profile sexual harassment cases have grabbed the news with experts warning that incidents are on the rise. Hewlett-Packard chief Mark Hurd was forced to resign last week in connection with a sexual harassment case.

"Where senior people have tried to have sex with employees because they work for them and not because they wanted a true relationship it's not simply harassment, it's exploitation," said John Wright, a senior vice-president at Ipsos, to Reuters.

Story continues below…

While the survey showed that Sweden, and Swedish men, generally fare well in an international comparison, with the country also at the bottom of the list with regards to intentional physical assault by a co-worker or manager, several recent cases have brought attention to the issue.

The Local in February reported on a Sveriges Radio survey showing that every third woman working within Swedish film and theatre had been subjected to sexual harassment. In January Marc Ribaud, the ballet director at the Royal Swedish Opera was issued with an official warning after sexually harassing a female member of staff.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:24 August 12, 2010 by Pont-y-garreg
"Being exposed" is a rather unfortunate expression considering the topic.

I would suggest "the risk of being a victim...".
09:53 August 12, 2010 by hpunlimited
Sweden is very different from the rest of the world though :-)

A couple of months ago in my office I was transferring files from one laptop to another for a girl and she wanted her pictures transferred to her new laptop, she clicks them open, one by one..and one of them was a topless photo of her on a bed and she simply says. "Yeah that one too", like it was any normal picture :-)
09:53 August 12, 2010 by salalah
Where did you take this picture? At the Local?

09:55 August 12, 2010 by concha de tu puta madre
I think the survey is inconclusive as there are many cases which goes unreported in Sweden. Also I think in Sweden if coworkers go for a night out there is a 95% probability they will end-up banging each other after a couple beers. Thats a fact!
10:21 August 12, 2010 by Rebel
I agree with a couple of the above posters -- what is considered by many feminazies in the USA is not considered sexual harassment by many women here. In the USA a woman might consider filing a sexual harassment suit if a co-worker puts his hand on her shoulder to congratulate her on winning an award, or if he makes a sexual joke. In Sweden it is not uncommon for the female workers to tell the best sexual jokes and, after a vacation, come up to you and give you a hug.

I may gripe about Sweden a lot, but the US is evolving into a sterile, obese, legally obsessed culture.
10:23 August 12, 2010 by Nika-NM
Ahaha, what a picture? This made me laugh, thanks :D The way the fingers are spread on that backside :D
10:28 August 12, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Ah Concha!

“I am curious yellow” as the country of blue-eyed blondes and ecclesiastic sin as extended to the work place, is rather exaggerated. Human beings will act in predictable ways when placed in close confinement. Naturally, in such a situation special tensions are most certain to arise when members of the opposite sex are juxtaposed, in close (even office) confinement. Such close proximity has been known to considerably complicate the tensions that already exist within a hierarchical power structure in which members of the organisation/ company/ country relate to each other ( as human beings) and to power which has sometimes been accused of sexual exploitation. It comes in various forms of reward and punishment. This is particularly true in “third world” countries, BUT as you know, SWEDEN IS MORE SEXUALLY EMANCIPATED THAN ALL A THEM.

“coworkers go for a night out there is a 95% probability they will end-up banging each other after a couple beers. Thats a fact! “ ( La Concha)

The statistic probability reminds me of this joke, “ Why I hate my secretary”:

10:57 August 12, 2010 by Twiceshy
When one homosexual caught me for my penis, I did not feel harassed. I want to say, people are individuals, what is harassment for one person, it is not for other. Vulgar words are not harassment because people should be free to find person as they need, even vulgar trying is legitimate, because it is still communication and woman can refuse man without problem. Common life is not possible without understanding that we are not all the same. For me, it is matriarchy and even dictatorship when I must speak like women need that I speak. I will speak like I want, and her right is to refuse if she doesn't like my way.
11:15 August 12, 2010 by hpunlimited
In many countries, sexual harrassment is a cashcow business.

In Sweden monitary compensation is extremely low, so the only reason for a women to file a sexual harrassment suit in Sweden would be if she was truely offended and had no interest in getting money out of it.
11:23 August 12, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
France 3%

Sweden 3%
11:52 August 12, 2010 by tysklampa
Er, so only 3% were harrassed by their superiors... What about normal coworkers, and staff under them?
11:55 August 12, 2010 by Marko2010S
Does the survey considers the cases of the Swedish women who hit on black guys who work as (Strawberry pickers, Cleaning jobs,...)....

Huh? I guess I've forgotten that this is Sweden, which is the country that protect the women even if they are wrong.
12:09 August 12, 2010 by Petalpusher

I have heard so many offensive phrases at my office that I'm surprised no one ever filed a complaint. But, that's the point. Swedes don't want confrontation and unless it severely affects their self being, they won't do anything about it.

At my office there was a dirty email list that would go out on fridays to select employees. Of course by the end of the day, everyone had seen it at the office. Some were racist jokes, some were sexual in nature, and some just quite bizarre.

One coworker grabbed my bf's balls at a company party and then he grabbed another coworker's balls. That is just weird.

Another coworker would jokingly call people 'nigga' and another would call people 'bitch.' Forget the lawsuit garbage, it's unacceptable behavior in the office.

I'm pretty sure if you put recorders in offices, there would be MORE cases of harassment and racial slurring than mentioned in this article.
13:43 August 12, 2010 by JLondon
This photo should be in the "gay gallery" There are many hairs on the forearm......
14:08 August 12, 2010 by concha de tu puta madre
Rebel, agree.. in the US they can file sexual harassment charges against you for simple saying to a female co-worker "nice shoes"

Cornelius, have you never experienced going out with your work mates and after a while in turn into a humping party? Even the quiet mousy ones get very loose and happy....El rincon del malevaje
15:23 August 12, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
No, I have never experienced it. But I've been made to understand that even the meek and tame ones tend to get loose and happy when looking for a relevant cultural experience.
20:43 August 12, 2010 by Rebel
concha de tu puta madre, I think that in Sweden men and women enjoy socializing after work. In the USA men do not want female co-workers socializing with them that much since there is always the fear of being accused of sexual harassment.

In Sweden it is extremely common for teachers and students to hug at graduation ceremonies. In the USA the teachers don't dare even say, "Pretty graduation dress:"
21:50 August 12, 2010 by McChatter
I presume this survey was not carried out on the Swedish police then.
02:44 August 13, 2010 by azedine
i don t trust such studies because sexuel harasmnent in europe became

a normal behivour because women are the cause of it
08:24 August 13, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
“women are the cause of it”? It sounds like the old serpent.

But it's true that everybody on earth is from a woman.

Even Henning Mankell must be feeling slightly sexually harassed after opening the parcel containing women's clothes...

But, sometimes the man only has himself to blame.

Here, all she said was “Boss, if you don't mind, I think I'll go into the bedroom and slip into something more comfortable.”

12:56 August 13, 2010 by americanska
If sweden is tied with France I think this study is BS.

is it possible that women just arne't as sensitive in Sweden and France while in the US the women will think a man saying hello is hassament.
Today's headlines
Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available