Union sets up “mansplaining” hotline

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The latest initiative from a major Swedish union is making waves all over the world after it was revealed the organisation has established a dedicated “mansplaining” hotline so women can report the infuriating workplace behaviour.

Coined in 2008, the term refers to situations when men automatically assume a woman is less informed about a subject and ultimately explain things in a patronising or condescending way.

Now, Unionen – which represents more than 600,000 private sector workers – is encouraging female members to report the behaviour in an attempt to raise awareness.

“The purpose of the campaign is not to point fingers or to blame all men,” Unionen said in a Facebook post. “The campaign is intended to make us all, men and women, aware of this phenomenon and hopefully to start a change together.”

News of the hotline – which will be manned by feminist politicians, comedians and scientists – has been met with mixed reactions as some welcome the move and others condemn it.

"How would women react if you used words like 'old biddy chat' or 'female whining'? Equality can't be won using negative invective, but should be built using mutual respect and partnership,” Daniel Bergman of Sundsvall wrote on their Facebook page. “But maybe I'm the only one who thinks so.”
Another user, Linda Landgren, defended the campaign.

"Good initiative,” she said online. “Judging by the comments, it seems quite a lot of men feel this is aimed at them, so it shows how much this kind of work is needed."

Speaking to The Local, Unionen responded to the varied reactions and said it was pleased to have generated so much conversation around the subject.

“Everyone wins when we expose suppression techniques and talk about them," said spokesperson Gabriel Wernstedt.

"It's naturally unfortunate if some people are offended by our mansplaining hotline. At the same time these are questions that affect many people and that people want to discuss.

“We can also note that many people are positive about us raising the question of mansplaining. The attention has exceeded our expectations and shows that this is an important question.”

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