Why Denmark is facing questions over a culture of sexual harassment in the workplace

A government minister on Friday promised action after hundreds signed a letter of support for a Danish TV host who revealed her experience with workplace sexual harassment.

Why Denmark is facing questions over a culture of sexual harassment in the workplace
View of Copenhagen and the Danish flag. Photo: ERIC BARADAT / AFP

At the end of August, hugely popular 31-year-old TV host Sofie Linde stunned viewers of a live televised gala by revealing that a senior public television executive had offered 12 years ago to boost her career in exchange for oral sex.

“We have to put an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. That's why I invite Sofie Linde, and some of the others behind the letter published in support of her, to a discussion about how to promote a culture where everyone's boundaries are respected in every workplace,” Gender Equality Minister Mogens Jensen wrote on Twitter.

Linde has not disclosed the identity of the executive.

TV presenter Sofie Lund. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Part of the debate that ensued focused on Linde's credibility, in a country proud of its reputation as progressive and gender equal, with a female prime minister and where the 2017 #MeToo movement made few waves.

Earlier this week, several journalists wrote a letter in support of Linde, which has since garnered more than 700 signatures.

“We have all experienced it to one extent or another during our careers: inappropriate remarks on our appearance or clothing; suggestive messages; physical behaviour that crosses the line; warnings about the men to steer clear of at the office Christmas party,” the letter reads.

A survey by the journalists' union in 2018 showed that 18 percent of women working in media in Denmark said they had been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in the past 10 years.

“I don't think I've ever spoken to a woman who has not, at some point or another during her career, been subjected to sexist remarks,” one of the initiators of the letter, journalist Maria Andersen, told public television DR.


Member comments

  1. I find Danish women extremely afraid of men in the streets, especially from foreign men. I don’t remember this type of behaviour from women in other countries l have been. On the other hand they tend to be much more promiscuous than women in most countries. Go figure.

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Norwegians give short shrift to fine for women’s handball team

Norwegian officials reacted sharply on Tuesday after the country's women's beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms in competition.

Norwegians give short shrift to fine for women's handball team
Norway's Stine Ruscetta Skogrand (L) vies with Montenegro's Vukcevic Nikolina (C) and Ema Ramusovic (R) during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's qualifying handball match between Montenegro and Norway in Podgorica on March 19, 2021. (Photo by SAVO PRELEVIC / AFP)

The Disciplinary Committee of the European Handball Federation (EHF) on Monday fined the Norway 1,500 euros ($1,768), or 150 euros per player, after they wore shorts in their bronze-medal match loss to Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, on Sunday.

“In 2021, it shouldn’t even be an issue,” the president of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, Eirik Sordahl, told national news agency NTB.

Clothing has long been an issue in beach sports, with some women players finding bikinis degrading or impractical.

While bikinis have not been compulsory for beach volleyball players since 2012, International Handball Federation (IHF) rules state “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” and that these must have “a close fit”, be “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a side depth of no more than 10 centimetres.

Male players wear shorts.

READ MORE: Norwegian female beach handballers scrap bikini in spite of rules

“It’s completely ridiculous,” Norway’s Minister for Culture and Sports, Abid Raja, tweeted after Monday’s ruling. “What a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport.”

Ahead of the tournament, Norway asked the EHF for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines.

They complied, until their last match.

“The EHF is committed to bring this topic forward in the interest of its member federations, however it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at IHF level,” EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer said in an email.