Sweden Now Has a Hotline to Help Deal With Mansplaining Jerks at Work
There are plenty of Swedish workplace policies for Americans to be jealous of: a 30-hour workweek, 480 days of paid parental leave (divided between both parents), and additional pregnancy benefits. Now, workers can add "relief from the scourge of mansplaining" to that list. For a short time, employees who feel like they've fallen victim to an unwanted, condescending lesson can call a dedicated hotline.
The temporary hotline was set up by Unionen, the country's largest workers union, as part of a week-long campaign to raise awareness of how certain language and tones of voice can be harmful in workplace interactions. So, for the next week, victims of mansplaining can call and receive tips for dealing with that self-aggrandizing jerk at work from gender experts, authors, academics, and other qualified listeners of both genders.
"Sweden is well advanced when it comes to gender equality but much remains to be done," Jennie Zetterström, a Unionen representative, told CNN. "We want to start a discussion which we hope will be the first step in changing the way we treat each other."
The hotline covers mansplaining as well as other instances of sexism in the workplace. Callers have already phoned in seeking advice on how to deal with feeling ignored or undervalued at work. Male workers have also called to ask if they've been perpetrators of any harmful behavior.
"A common question has been: 'How do I know I've been doing this?'" one of the phone operators, Christina Knight, told CNN. "I always tell them: Ask questions first. Start with a dialogue, instead of a monologue about something you assume a woman doesn't know or wants to know."