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Survey: Majority in Finland report experiencing various workplace harassment

Women with minority backgrounds experienced more harassment than other groups last year, according to the Harassment Barometer.

A woman standing in front of changing rooms.
Two fifths of the women who took part in the survey recalled being sexually harassed at some point during their careers. Image: Antti Haanpää / Yle
Yle News

More than half of the workers that took part in a survey by pollster Kantar Public reported having experienced harassment of some kind at work in the past year.

The so-called Harassment Barometer revealed that respondents who most reported harassment predominantly worked in social welfare and healthcare jobs as well as in the retail sector.

Around three-quarters of those in the social and healthcare sectors said they had been harassed in the past year, while the corresponding ratio for those in retail was two-thirds.

The survey firm identified the types of harassment that were reported. They included sexual, ethnic and political harassment, as well as harassment based on a person's philosophical and religious background. Respondents also cited receiving negative reactions after offering opinions about social or political issues.

Meanwhile more than one-tenth of the employees reported having been sexually harassed, with one in four saying they received stares or looks that made them feel uncomfortable.

Such experiences were more prevalent among female respondents, of which two-fifths saying they had been sexually harassed at some point during their careers.

"Young women belonging to minority groups and who are economically disadvantaged seem to be experiencing more harassment than other groups in Finnish working life," according to the polling firm's research director Mikko Hormio.

Perpetrators of the various harassment included colleagues, customers and supervisors. Two-in-five respondents said they had been harassed by colleagues, while one in ten said their supervisor had been the harasser.

The survey was conducted in April-May 2023 and answered by roughly 3,000 residents of Finland aged between 18-68 who had been in paid employment in the past year.

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