Alþingi troubled by bullying research

20.05.2020 - 12:25
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Guðmundur Bergkvist - RÚV
35 percent of parliamentarians in Iceland have faced bullying at work or in relation to their work, as well as 15 percent of Alþingi employees and 6.3 percent of political party employees, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the Speaker of Alþingi and conducted by the University of Iceland Social Science Research Unit.

“We have to take the results seriously, as striking as they are, see them through and continue the work,” Speaker Steingrímur J. Sigfússon (pictured above) wrote on the Alþingi website. 

The survey was sent to all Alþingi office staff, political party staff members, and elected Members. A total of 206 people. The response rate was 74 percent. 

45 of 64 MPs responded, and their answers illustrate how combative politics can be; with 42 percent saying they experience difficult communication/relations weekly or daily. 

23.3 percent felt that sexually suggestive pictures, comments or innuendo about them have been in the media, which included a third of female MPs and 17 percent of male parliamentarians. 

Nearly a third of MPs said they have experienced harassment, and 16 percent physical abuse, in relation to their work at Alþingi. 14.6 percent said close family members had been threatened with violence over their work as an elected member of Alþingi. 

Half believe that their work as an MP has caused family members difficulties at work or school. Answers to that question were not split down by the gender of MPs. 

Nearly a third of MPs say they have suffered gender-based harassment. 16 percent of all participants in the survey said they have experienced sexual harassment; though that is not broken down further to differentiate between MPs and other staff. 

Nearly a third of elected members said they have experienced bullying at work or in relation to their work. Of those 28 MPs, roughly half were male and half female; 36 percent of whom had experienced bullying within the last six months. 

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