According to the results of a new survey conducted by Epinion on behalf of national news broadcaster DR, every sixth Danish adult claims to have been subjected to everyday sexism.
In the survey, ‘everyday sexism’ was defined as “differential treatment and harassment based on gender. It can for instance be groping someone on the bus or wolf whistling, but it can also be something that takes place at the doctor’s office, at a florist, or at work.”
In total, 17 percent of respondents said they had been subjected to everyday sexism.
When survey results are broken down by age, however, the study shows that nearly a third of all respondents aged 18 to 34 – 29 percent – answered yes to the same question.
There was a clear difference between sexes as well. Across all age groups, only one in 14 male respondents had experienced every day sexism. That figure was one in four for women.
Irene Manteufel, head of the Everyday Sexism Project in Denmark, said that she and her team had collected over 1,900 stories from women detailing inappropriate behaviour.
“They write about everything from receiving lewd remarks on the street, bring groped when they are out partying, and experiencing uncomfortable advances or stalking – both in their private life as well as in the workplace,” she told DR.
Professor Kenneth Reinicke at Roskilde University is not surprised by the figures.
“Many men feel some sort of entitlement to act this way. They do not consider that it constitutes culturally inappropriate behaviour, believing that this is something that they have the right to do,” Reinicke told DR.
Reinicke argues that Danes are not doing enough to bring everyday sexism into mainstream discourse, and that many women therefore believe it is their own fault if they — for instance — wear shorts and receive a pat on the bum from someone.
He believes that the best way to combat everyday sexism is for women to become more confident in telling men off when they cross the line.
“Some men just need to be told that some of their comments aren’t charming, but constitute harassment. You could tell them that they probably wouldn’t like if their own girlfriend, sister or mother was on the receiving end of such behaviour,” Reinicke explained.