2008-01-26

Sexual harassment in Parliament

In a story that has some potential, according to a survey (fi) commissioned by the Parliament, one in three women working there have been subjected to sexual harassment. About one in seven had been harassed physically and the rest had heard inappropriate comments. In four incidents out of ten, the harasser was a Member of Parliament. In response, former Culture Minister Tarja Saarela (Centre Party) has said (fi) that she has been harassed.

There were about 100 respondents in this section of the survey, so we're talking about 33 respondents who say that they have been harassed and about 14 respondents who report having been harassed physically. In total the survey was sent to 680 people, out of whom 320 respondent. Of the respondents, 224 were women. The response rate means that we probably shouldn't extrapolate the harassment rates to the entire parliamentary workforce, but the results still show that there's a problem.

6 comments:

TH said...

This sums it up nicely. I'd never take this kind of "study" at face value.

Ari said...

Kristian's post is a pretty straightforward case of blaming the victim. Based on this and some of his previous writings, the guy seems to have a problem with women in the workplace. Personally, I'd never take biased guesswork like that at face value.

TH said...

How would you like a trial where only the plaintiff is entitled to tell his story, and the defendant is not given an opportunity to defend himself? This is exactly like that, especially in light of the fact that lots of female MPs are radical feminists eager to find oppressive patriarchs around every corner.

Ari said...

This isn't anything like that, in my opinion. There's no defendant, for one thing, which makes it difficult to give him an opportunity to defend himself. This survey indicates that sexual harassment takes place in the Parliament. It doesn't indicate that any one person is a sexual harasser.

Also, MPs weren't surveyed.

TH said...

This brouhaha indicates only that some women claim that sexual harassment takes places in the parliament. No one's guilty just based on insinuations. I urge you to attend a trial sometime, e.g. some very contentious divorce case. After you listen to whichever party gets to start, you'll soon be ready to hang the other party. But then the other party gets to tell his side of the story, and you realise that the first speaker was, if not outright lying, at least interpreting the events in a very one-sided manner.

In my previous post I was referring to interviews with some female MPs in one of the tabloids. Some had experienced lots of harassment, some none. I think it's largely a question of how sensitive a woman is.

Some years back there was an international crime victimization survey, where it was asked how often women had experienced sexual harassment. Which country, out of dozens, do you think turned out to be the one with the most harassment? Why, of course it was that retrogressive woman-hating super-patriarchy, Sweden! Where do you think women are more likely to be harassed, in, say, Mexico, or in Sweden, and how does that square with the surveys?

Some harassment undoubtedly takes place wherever lots of men and women are together, but these witch hunts on the front pages of tabloids, and the fact that people take them at face value, is what I object to.

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