Sweden pushes feminist foreign policy in wake of #MeToo (The Local, 14/02/2018) Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström vowed to press ahead with gender equality and feminism in the annual foreign policy statement on Wednesday. (continue reading)
Commons bullying inquiry suggests John Bercow should consider position (The Guardian, 15/10/2018) Parliament’s current leadership is incapable of changing a widespread culture of bullying and harassment, an independent inquiry has found, suggesting officials including the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, should consider standing down. (continue reading)
Concertgebouw-orkesteri ilmoitti vihdoin Helsingin-konsertin kapellimestarista – vaihdos johtuu #metoo-potkuista (Helsingin Sanomat, 18/09/2018) Concertgebouw-orkesteri on vihdoin ilmoittanut Helsingin Musiikkitalon konserttinsa kapellimestarin. Hän on orkesterin verkkosivujen mukaan belgialainen 71-vuotias Philippe Herreweghe, arvostettu historiallisesti valistuneiden esityskäytäntöjen tuntija sekä Collegium Vocale Gentin ja La Chapelle Royale -kokoonpanon perustaja. (continue reading)
Riku Rantala ajatteli ennen, että #metoo ei häntä koske, koska ei hän ole ”ahdistellut” – Nyt Rantala sanoo olleensa väärässä, ja haastaa muut tekemään samoin (Helsingin Sanomat, 14/09/2018) Docventuresista tutut Riku Rantala ja Tunna Milonoff tapasivat torstaina eduskunnan puhemiestä Paula Risikkoa (kok) ja vaativat eduskuntaa mukaan #stopnyt-kampanjaansa. (continue reading)
Valtio voi karsia seksuaalista häirintää säätämällä rahahanoja (Helsingin Sanomat, 13/09/2018) Halu toimintakulttuurin ja asenteiden muuttamiseen on vahva, mutta keinot muutoksen edistämiseen eivät ole yksinkertaisia. (continue reading)
Analyysi: Seksuaalisesta häirinnästä teatterialalla on tiedetty jo 20 vuotta – se ei vain ole johtanut juuri mihinkään (yle, 12/08/2018) Teatterikesän seminaarissa kuului suuria toiveita ja syvää pettymystä. Uusia kyselyitä ja selvityksiä todennäköisemmin tunkkaisen kulttuurin muutos kytee nuorissa näyttelijöissä, jotka vaativat rajojensa kunnioittamista. (continue reading)
Näyttelijä Pihla Viitala palasi #metoo-kokemuksiinsa Docventures Talk Show’ssa: “Ei ole minun häpeäni, jos joku toinen käyttäytyy huonosti” (yle, 12/09/2018) Docventuresin kuudes kausi alkoi suurilla tunteilla ja itsetutkiskelulla! Sukupuolten valtataistelusta puhuminen ja #metoo saivat keskustelijat näkemään omat kokemuksensa. Näyttelijät Pihla Viitala ja Ville Virtanen pohtivat leffaklitsussa kokemaansa ja todistamaansa vallan väärinkäyttöä. (continue reading)
“Vache folle”, “Bécassine”, “À poil !”: Ségolène Royal raconte 30 ans d’attaques sexistes (France Inter, 31 Octobre 2018) Il y en a plusieurs dizaines. Peut-être plus d’une centaine. Des très récentes et des plus anciennes. L’ancienne candidate à l’élection présidentielle révèle dans “Ce que je peux enfin vous dire” les nombreuses attaques sexistes dont elle a été victime au cours de sa carrière politique. (continue reading)
Abuse of women in European parliaments widespread, study shows (CNN, 16 October 2018) The findings offer a snapshot into a work culture involving threats of violence, psychological harassment and sexual harassment, among other offenses. The report on Sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliaments in Europe was presented in Geneva, based on a study conducted jointly by IPU and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The report concerns female parliamentarians and civil servants. (continue reading)
Sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliaments in Europe: Issues Brief by the Council of Europe and Inter-parliamentary Union, October 2018
Key findings: ▪ 85.2 per cent of female MPs who took part in the study said that they had suffered psychological violence in the course of their term of office. ▪ 46.9 per cent had received death threats or threats of rape or beating. ▪ 58.2 per cent had been the target of online sexist attacks on social networks. ▪ 67.9 per cent had been the target of comments relating to their physical appearance or based on gender stereotypes. ▪ 24.7 per cent had suffered sexual violence. ▪ 14.8 per cent had suffered physical violence.
• Female MPs under the age of 40 were more frequently subject to psychological and sexual harassment. • Female MPs active in the fight against gender inequality and violence against women were often singled out for attack. Read the full report here.
Study reveals that the majority of female MPs in Europe endure sexual abuse (Al Jazeera English, Europe, 16 October 2018):
- Forty-seven percent of women said they had received death threats as well as threats of rape or being beaten.
- Sixty-eight percent have been the targets of sexist comments related to their looks or stereotypes about their gender role.
- Another 25 percent experienced physical sexual violence and more than half reported being attacked on social networks.
How can we expect our governments to address sexual abuses when the same problems are rampant in their own parliaments? (continue reading)
No peace prize-the crisis inside the Swedish Academy. (The Times Literary supplement, 18 October 2018). The crisis at the Swedish Academy began in November 2017, when Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of the Academy member Katarina Frostenson, was accused in an article in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper of sexually harassing or assaulting eighteen women. “He held me and shoved his dick so far down my throat it felt like I was choking”, stated the plaintiff in Arnault’s subsequent rape case.(continue reading)
Bullying and Harassment of House of Commons staff. On 15th October 2018, Dame Laura Cox published her independent inquiry report on the Bullying and Harassment of House of Commons staff. It highlights: a lack of support for those who have been bullied, harassed or sexually harassed; a culture that has actively sought to cover up such abusive conduct; a palpable lack of protection for individuals reporting such abuse; and a lack of accountability for that abuse. The House of Commons Executive Board has announced that it will meet on 22 October to consider the findings and identify next steps.
Bullying MPs will be held to account, however much their parties resist. Guardian, 19 July 2018. Granted, delivering a system that’s totally independent is not without risks – most notably if MPs facing sanctions for their behavior decide to launch legal action against the idea of someone unelected subjecting them to recall.(continue reading)
BBC: MPs face tougher sanctions for sexual harassment and bullying, February 2018
Sky: MPs could be expelled for sexual abuse and harassment under new ‘game-changing’ rules, February 2018
Reuters: One in five experience sexual harassment, says UK parliament report, February 2018
Guardian: MPs and peers could be recalled or expelled for harassment, February 2018
• Commons Select Committee on Zero tolerance of sexual harassment, harassment and bullying within Parliament, February 2018
• Ex-judge Dame Laura Cox to head Commons bullying inquiry, The Independent, 23 April 2018
• Delivery Report of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy (ICGP) Programme, July 2018
• Speech by the Leader of the House of Commons to launch the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme in Parliament, July 2018 (summary of the new scheme)
• Briefing on the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy, House of Commons Library, July 2018 (summary and analysis of the new scheme)
Bullying and harassment in Parliament: the FDA response, Amy Leversidge, March 2018
• Parliament’s new anti-bullying policy is a whitewash, Amy Leversidge, The Times, 20 July 2018
• Communiqué de François de Rugy – L’Assemblée nationale fait en sorte que les personnes qui s’estiment victimes de harcèlement ou d’agression, 20 Oct. 2017 http://presidence.assemblee-nationale.fr/communiques-de-presse
• Harcèlement sexuel : Rugy s’engage à lever l’immunité parlementaire en cas d’ “obstacle” à la justice, Le Monde, 25 Oct. 2017
• Scandales sexuels : enfin une liberation de la parole dans le monde politque, France Culture, 27 Oct. 2017
Sept propositions pour lutter contre le harcèlement sexuel au parlement, Juliette Clavière, Fondation Jean Jaurès, 11 December 2017
La Fondation Jean Jaurès a présenté sept propositions pour lutter contre le harcèlement sexuel au Parlement. Interview and summary.
Petite typologie des antiféministes que l’on croise aux détours de nos aventures
Harcèlement: Cette ex-assistante parlementaire révèle l’existence d’une “blacklist” de députés
“Female MPs have talked about their experiences of sexual harassment under the #MeToo hashtag. Finish parliament is not immune to harassment
Survey and research on the prevalence of sexual harassment in parliaments, and legislation and policies
In January 2018, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe launched a survey on sexual harassment in Parliaments, focusing on the European region. The PACE General Rapporteur on violence against women Gülsün Bilgehan (Turkey, SOC) announced hopes that the study will “contribute to lift barriers of shame in our parliaments and support the victims in their rehabilitation processes”.
• Sources: Sexual harassment in 47 parliaments under focus in new PACE-IPU joint research, Hurriyet Daily News, 24/11/2017 and Sexual violence and harassment of women: wave of testimonies only tip of the iceberg, Council of Europe, 22/11/2017]
- Prevalence Surveys, UK Parliament
A number of surveys into sexual harassment and bullying in the Westminster parliament have been carried out over the past year.
Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy
The cross-party working group was set up in November 2017 in response to reports of sexual harassment and bullying in parliament. As part of its work, it commissioned a survey which was open to a wide range of people working in or with Parliament including a number of pass holders who had not previously been asked about their experiences of bullying and harassment.
The survey received 1,377 responses, or 17% of the Westminster workforce. The findings, were that:
• 39% of the respondents reported experience of non-sexual harassment or bullying in the last year, 45% of female respondents and 35% of male respondents.
• 19% of the respondents reported experience of sexual harassment, including witnessing sexually inappropriate behaviour, with women reporting twice as much as men.
• A majority (55%) of respondents who had made a report under existing procedures were dissatisfied with the choices given to them for next steps, and a majority (55%) were dissatisfied with the level of understanding shown about what an appropriate remedy, outcome or sanction would be from their own perspective.
• People who had experienced bullying, harassment or sexual harassment were less confident than others that a complaint would be dealt with satisfactorily. These groups also said they would have the most confidence in an external independent service provider for bullying and harassment (47% of those who had experienced bullying or harassment) and in an external independent specialist service provider for sexual harassment concerns (57% of those who had experienced sexual harassment).
The working group’s report also highlights the results of other surveys conducted in the parliament:
• The MPs & Peers Staff Association (MAPSA) survey of the staff of MPs and Peers returned higher prevalence rates, particularly among constituency staff, but was not restricted to a 12-month period. 53% of the 815 MPs’ and Peers’ staff who responded to this survey said they had experienced, witnessed or heard of bullying/harassment during their time in employment.
• Unite’s survey of the staff of MPs also found high levels of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment, with 27% having experienced behaviour they would describe as bullying or intimidating towards them and 14% experiencing behaviour that they would describe as a form of sexual harassment.
For further details see:
• Working Group Report, February 2018
• Press Article: Abuse of power: the truth about sexual harassment in Westminster, Financial Times, 14 June 2018. Includes the results of the surveys and individual stories.
2. Legislation and policies in the U.K.
In September 2018, the Westminster Parliament introduced two new support and advice services as part of its reform of procedures for dealing with sexual harassment and other forms of harassment and bullying:
Bullying and Harassment and Sexual Harassment support services, Working for an MP website, 16 September 2018
From September 2018, two new services offering support and advice have been available to those who have experienced bullying and harassment and sexual harassment in Parliament, in constituency offices or whilst undertaking parliamentary work.
• The Independent Bullying and Harassment Reporting Helpline gives support and advice to those who have experienced or have concerns about bullying and harassment.
• The Independent Sexual Misconduct Advisory Service (ISMA Service) provides advice, support and signposting to those who have experienced sexual misconduct/harassment. The ISMA Service is run by trained Independent Sexual Misconduct Advisors (ISVAs).
These services are available to MPs and MPs’ staff and interns, as well as staff employed by or working for the House of Commons, Parliamentary Digital Service, and other paid or unpaid staff, including those employed by external organisations who hold a parliamentary pass.
For full details see: Guide: Harassment involving MPs and Staff, Working for an MP website.
The two new support and advice services are part of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy programme, which has been established to help to ensure that Westminster, constituency offices and related locations are safe environments.
Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy (ICGP) Programme
In November 2017, the Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy (ICGP) was established in response to allegations about inappropriate behaviour and a culture of bullying and sexual harassment in Westminster. The ICGP Working Group was cross-party and bicameral and included representatives of unions and employees’ organisations active in Parliament.
In February 2018, it concluded that a change in workplace culture was urgent and essential across the parliamentary community. As well as recommending that new independent advice, complaints and grievance schemes should be set up to manage complaints of 1) sexual harassment and 2) bullying and harassment, it also recommended mandatory training for Members of Parliament and a new parliament-wide behaviour code.
Following a House of Commons resolution on 28 February, a steering group was set up to take these recommendations forward.
In July 2018, the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy (ICGP) Programme published its Delivery Report which outlined a Behaviour Code for Parliament, and the new procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of bullying and harassment; procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of sexual harassment; and a system of training to support the Behaviour Code.
The recommendations were adopted by the House of Commons on 19 July 2018.
There will be a review after 6 months of operation, which will also take account of the findings of two ongoing inquiries: the Dame Laura Cox inquiry on bullying and harassment in Parliament, due in the autumn and a new inquiry into historical allegations.
For further information see:
• ICGP Working Group Report, February 2018
Looking beyond Parliament itself, the House of Commons Equalities Committee is investigating the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace:
• Sexual harassment in the workplace inquiry
- Prevalence policies:
The results of the Scottish Parliament’s survey to assess the extent of sexual harassment were released in February 2018 in the Sexual Harassment and Sexist Behaviour Survey
The Scottish Parliament commissioned a confidential survey of all those who work in Holyrood and constituency and regional offices to assess the extent to which sexual harassment and sexist behaviour is prevalent.
Progressive, the independent company which undertook the survey, has provided an analysis of the responses and a copy of its report can be found below.
Sexual Harassment and Sexist Behaviour Survey – Report, February 2018
A Joint Working Group set up to take forward any actions as a result of the survey has been considering the report’s findings and has identified the key strands of work it will take forward.
• Press release summarising the results: http://www.parliament.scot/newsandmediacentre/107907.aspx
2. Legislation and policies:
Sexual harassment of women at the Scottish Parliament is a “ticking time bomb”, says top lawyer Aamer Anwar, The Herald, 28 October 2017
The Scottish Parliament is working on a reform of its own procedures:
Sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct inquiry
The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee held an inquiry into sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct at the Scottish Parliament.
The remit of the inquiry was:
• To conduct an examination of the rules, procedures and guidance governing the reporting, investigation and sanctioning of MSPs’ conduct with regard to sexual harassment at the Scottish Parliament.
• To consider the Code of Conduct for MSPs, and the context in which it operates, in order to deliver a reporting regime which inspires confidence in those affected by MSPs’ conduct that they will be taken seriously and treated fairly and that appropriate action will be taken if sexual harassment is found to have occurred, including sanctions.
• To examine political parliamentary parties’ approaches to the reporting and investigation of MSPs’ conduct with regard to sexual harassment at the Scottish Parliament with a view to making recommendations.
• To understand workplace cultural and societal factors that may be relevant to MSPs’ conduct with regard to sexual harassment and determine whether and what changes could be made to the Code of Conduct to address them.
Read the written submissions received
The Committee published its report on 5 June 2018.
It found that existing policies and structures may not be contributing to a safe work environment in the Scottish Parliament. It makes several recommendations, including a central policy on sexual harassment, ongoing monitoring and reporting, and mandatory training. The Committee also recommended further consideration of an independent investigatory body, a sanction for MSPs akin to dismissal, and a process for suspending MSPs.
The report will be followed by “further detailed work to deliver a new set of policies and procedures with the following aims:
– reducing the incidence of unacceptable behaviour;
– encouraging reporting where unacceptable behaviour occurs;
– providing greater clarity about the procedures which apply to such cases including greater clarity for both complainers and accused individuals; and
– providing some consistency with regard to sanctions where possible.”
Press: ‘Urgent action’ call on Holyrood harassment – BBC News, 6 June 2018
Analysis: Parliamentary Briefing – Sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct in the Scottish Parliament, Engender, June 2018
The Committee’s report was debated in the Chamber on 14 June 2018.
- Prevalence Surveys: Finland’s parliament commissioned a survey in 2018.
Survey finds harassment among lawmakers in Finnish parliament, Uutiset, September 2018
Seventeen men and 12 women reported experiences of sexual harassment in parliament, but “no systemic discrimination was uncovered,” the polling firm reports. The survey was carried out by Finnish polling firm Oxford Research, and commissioned by then-Speaker of Parliament Maria Lohela at the end of last year. Parliament Speaker Paula Risikko said the aim of the survey is to promote equality in parliament. “We are sending a serious message with these figures,” Risikko says. “I have already started preparing measures to weed out harassment and threats. We expect concrete guidelines later this autumn.
2. Legislation and policies:
Survey finds harassment among lawmakers in Finnish parliament, Uutiset, September 2018
Parliament Speaker Paula Risikko said the aim of the survey is to promote equality in parliament. “We are sending a serious message with these figures,” Risikko says. “I have already started preparing measures to weed out harassment and threats. We expect concrete guidelines later this autumn.
Almost 30 MPs have faced sexual harassment in workplace, finds study , Helsinki Times, 13 September 2018
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.
Legislation and policies:
Codes of ethics and harassment training for staff recommended
Progress had been made, the National Assembly Ethics Officer noted in his annual report, in familiarising officials and members’ staff at the National Assembly with the procedures in place for combatting sexual harassment and sexist actions, but particular attention needed to be paid to constituency staff who are more isolated and thus more vulnerable. The Bureau of the National Assembly approved his request for funding for a year to enable constituency staff to travel to training sessions at the National Assembly. It also approved his recommendation for the adoption of codes of ethics specifically for Assembly staff and for members’ staff, or failing that an overall ethics code with specific provisions for members, officials and members’ staff respectively. Currently there is a code of ethics for members, but reasoning by analogy with members in situations involving officials or staff, the Ethics Officer said, has its limits.
• Report: La consolidation de la déontologie à l’Assemblée nationale: rapport public annuel sur la mise en œuvre du Code de déontologie remis au Président et au Bureau de l’Assemblée nationale par Ferdinand Mélin-Soucramanien, Déontologue de l’Assemblée nationale, en application de l’article 80-3 du Règlement, 30 Nov. 2016 http://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/static/deontologue/deontologue_rapport_2016.pdf
• Press release: Bureau de l’Assemblée nationale, Réunion du mercredi 30 novembre 2016 http://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/static/deontologue/deontologue_rapport_2016_communique_bureau.pdf
Rapport d’information fait au nom de la délégation aux droits des femmes et à l’égalité des chances entre les hommes et les femmes sur les violences faites aux femmes, Senate Report 564, 12 June 2018
The report has a section on sexual harassment in the workplace (pp. 97-134). It also refers to a new regulation: La circulaire du 9 mars 2018 relative à la lutte contre les violences sexuelles et sexistes dans la fonction publique
Support for victims of harassment
In a statement the President of the National Assembly said that the Assembly ensures that everyone who considers they have been subject to harassment or abuse can obtain the help to which they are entitled. Deputies’ staff can consult an adviser about harassment or inappropriate behaviour in their working relationships with their employer, fellow staff or within the administration. Useful information is available on the intranet, together with the Penal Code’s provisions on sexual harassment. The Bureau of the National Assembly decided in July that every staff member of a deputy will be given an information sheet on harassment when they sign their contract. Posters will be put up in the corridors of the Assembly and be provided to deputies for their electorate offices. If a complaint is made against a deputy the law must apply: they must not take advantage of their parliamentary immunity and they are entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Sexual harassment under investigation inside Dutch parliament, Netherlands Times, 23 February 2018
Netherlands members of parliament will permit an investigation to determine whether a pattern of sexual harassment and sexual intimidation occurs in the Dutch government. After the summer, employees will be asked whether they have had to endure unwanted intimacies, according to a policy approved by the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.
More on Legislation and policies in EU Member States
Codes of Conduct for Members of Parliament – a survey of Europe
The Norwegian Riksdag Research Service has put the following questions to all the parliaments in the EU, as well as the Norwegian Parliament and the European Parliament.
Due to a GRECO Evaluation Report, the Riksdag is examining the possibility to adopt a Code of Conduct for members of the Riksdag.
Of the 29 parliaments that were asked, 28 have replied, of which eleven countries, including the European Parliament, say that they have adopted a code of conduct for the members of parliament (France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, UK and the European Parliament). Twelve countries say that they have no code of conduct (Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Spain). Five countries say that they intend to adopt such a code within the near future (Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia). Estonia has been looking into the issue of adopting a code for a long time but has not yet realised this goal.
According to Norway they do not have a code of conduct, but they do have an ethical code. The latter code contains several of the elements that are typical of a code of conduct, which is why the Riksdag Research Service has chosen to regard this code as a code of conduct.
Bulgaria has not replied. However, according to an ECPRD request from 2011, shows that Bulgaria had not adopted a code of conduct at that time.taly