Speaker of the Parliament Paula Risikko (NCP) has begun work to weed out harassment and threatening from the Finnish Parliament.
Risikko made the announcement as she discussed the findings of a new study on gender equality, inappropriate behaviour, sexual harassment and threatening among Members of the Parliament in Helsinki on Wednesday.
The findings, she underscored, send a serious message.
Roughly a fifth of the 149 respondents revealed that they have experienced sexual harassment and two-thirds that they have heard sexist jokes while working in the Parliament. Men accounted for 17 of the 29 lawmakers who said they have faced sexual harassment and for 60 of the 101 lawmakers who said they have heard sexist jokes.
Almost three-quarters (72%) of the respondents also said they have received direct threats on social media.
Risikko pointed out in the press conference that some lawmakers may have grown accustomed to threats to the extent that they consider them a normal aspect of their work. “You may be thinking that it’s part of the job. But it isn’t. This is a workplace and an occupation just like any other. No one has to withstand or tolerate threats,” she stated according to Helsingin Sanomat.
Many of the respondents also drew attention to the recent public debate on sexual harassment, but only some of them estimated that the situation has improved as a consequence of the debate.
Risikko revealed that she received the study report earlier this week and discussed it immediately with her fellow speakers and the administrative staff of the Parliament.
“The Parliament is the workplace of Members of the Parliament, where good workplace rules must be followed, workplace safety must be guaranteed and, if necessary, protective measures must be taken,” she reiterated.
Risikko said she has asked the working group that conducted the equality study to continue its work and draft a proposal with concrete measures to improve the current situation as early as this autumn. Members of the Parliament, she underscored, must be able to carry out their responsibilities without being subjected to outside threats.
“The Parliament’s security working group has been asked to review the findings and outline necessary measures together with security authorities,” said Risikko.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi