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#MeToo continues in Norway with reports of council, Progress Party cases

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#MeToo continues in Norway with reports of council, Progress Party cases
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT/NTB Scanpix
19:08 CET+01:00
A recent survey of public servants with Hordaland's county council found that 24 employees said they had suffered sexual discrimination at work. Meanwhile, the Progress Party has confirmed reports against a representative with its youth wing.

The news from Hordaland comes as a result of a survey sent out by the regional authority in January, in which 3,482 of the approximately 4,500 employees in the county council (fylkeskommune) answered questions relating to workplace sexual harassment.

27 employees said they had experienced unwanted sexual attention during the last month, and 24 responded that they had been sexually harassed within the last year, reports broadcaster NRK.

The council has employees working in sectors including secondary education, dental services and public transport.

Hordaland County Council administrative director (fylkesrådmann) Rune Haugsdal said the results of the survey must be taken seriously.

"We want our employees to have a good and safe working situation. That 27 people have experienced something unpleasant in this regard, I see as 27 too many," Haugsdal told NRK.

Meanwhile, the Progress Party, the populist party that is the third-largest in Norway's parliament, has confirmed that four complaints have been made against a former representative with its youth branch, the Progress Party's Youth.

The individual subject to the complaints has confirmed that he sent inappropriate messages to a 14-year-old girl when he was 18 years old, reports NRK.

In the messages, the then-18-year-old asked the girl for sex, according to the report.

He told NRK on Friday that the messages "were not intended as an approach to have sex with |the girl]," but were "meant as a joke".

"That said, I should never have sent messages of this kind. I showed poor judgement," he told the broadcaster.

He currently holds positions with both the youth and senior branches of the party, NRK reports.

Helge André Njåstad, head of the Progress Party's organisational committee, told newspaper VG that the reports would be investigated by the committee.

The two separate stories are the latest in a series of reports related to sexual harassment in Norway after the emergence of the global #MeToo movement in autumn 2017, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the United States.

On Thursday, over 100 cases of sexual harassment were reported to have been registered by Norwegian colleges and universities.

In January, Labour deputy leader Trond Giske left his position with the party after a series of accusations of inappropriate conduct towards female colleagues were levelled at him.

Also last month, Kristian Tonning Rise, the leader of the Conservative party's youth wing, announced that he would be leaving that post, citing that he had not acted in a manner befitting his position in social situations.

In November 2017, a thousand artists denounced rape, assault and harassment in manifestos published by the Norwegian media.

READ ALSO: #MeToo: Over 100 known complaints at Norwegian colleges and universities

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