Swedes create hotline to raise mansplaining awareness

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 17, 2016 7:19 AM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A large Swedish trade union has been running a weeklong hotline where people can talk about condescending or patronizing co-workers in an effort to raise awareness about workplace sexism and start a discussion about relations between employees.

Jennie Zetterstrom, a spokeswoman for Unionen, says the hotline has been "a huge success" with hundreds of calls.

Zetterstrom said Thursday that women and men can anonymously call to ask about sexism and get advice on how to have more inclusive workplaces. The "mansplainingakut" hotline — a fusion of mansplaining and the Swedish word for emergency — closes Friday.

She said a recent survey by Unionen, which has more than 620,000 private sector members, concluded that 20 percent of female employees believe they're given unnecessary help by men who assume they know better.

Equality between sexes is thoroughly ingrained in the Scandinavian country of almost 10 million. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven heads a 24-member Cabinet with 13 women, including a minister for gender equality.

"People call in to explain what they see and how they live it. In our opinion, a lot still needs to be done in Sweden, where we see inequalities when it comes to salaries and careers where men often are chosen," Zetterstrom told The Associated Press.

An often-asked question was "what to do if a female co-worker is being ignored by a man in your work group," Zetterstrom said.

"Our advice is that men should ask more questions before embarking on explanations," she said. "And listen to women."

She said after it closed the hotline, Unionen planned to continue working on reducing mansplanning at Swedish workplaces.