Women in Swedish politics still fight for visibility

Female politicians active in the Gothenburg area claim they still fight for visibility, with six out of ten claiming resistance from male colleagues due to their gender.

According to a survey carried out by the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper amongst 35 women in local politics, female politicians fight to be seen and heard and 11 percent have had to deal with sexual harassment.

In addition, 63 percent claim to have witnessed other women subjected to sexual harassment, either direct or verbal harassment. The women surveyed write that unless their views or ideas are accepted by male colleagues, they will not be taken seriously and acted upon.

The women say that it is important to fit in so they be taken seriously, for instance by speaking forcefully and choosing their male counterparts’ words.

According to the survey, the men don’t take their female colleagues seriously if they speak more colloquially and women are still expected to work with “softer” issues.

Many of the female politicians interviewed said that it’s easier for younger women to break into politics now. However, it is much harder to stand up against the older men who continue to occupy leading positions.