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Widespread Study Reveals Persistent Issue of Sexist Culture and Behavior in Municipality Workplaces

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A comprehensive investigation into the prevalence of sexist culture and behavior in the municipality’s workplaces indicates an ongoing problem.

The study reveals that 16 percent of participants have experienced sexist culture or unwanted sexual behavior within the past year. This primarily involves sexual comments and derogatory language related to gender or sexual orientation.

This mirrors the findings of a similar study conducted in 2022.

Employees with citizen interaction responsibilities, particularly in fields such as social and healthcare services (SOSU) and education, report experiencing sexist culture or behavior. The research also indicates that while the number of incidents within internal collaboration has decreased since 2022, the occurrences in external collaborations have risen.

-“I take the results of the study very seriously. Copenhagen Municipality is Denmark’s largest workplace, and that comes with significant responsibility. Everyone should feel secure at work in Copenhagen Municipality, whether they work in home care or at City Hall. Therefore, there is no doubt that I had hoped the percentage would have decreased since last year. It indicates that we have not reached our goal, and it calls for a continued long-term focus in individual administrations to address sexist culture and behavior,” says Copenhagens’ Lord Mayor  Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (S).

Local Follow-up by Administrations Each administration will now delve into the results and examine where local interventions are necessary. This includes improving workplace culture and clarifying how to prevent and address unwanted sexual behavior.

Following the 2022 study, a series of follow-up initiatives were launched in the administrations. This year’s study also suggests that these efforts are effective in creating a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting instances of sexist behavior. More employees than last year are willing to speak up about sexist culture, and more perceive that efforts have been made to address the problem. Additionally, over 90 percent of survey participants know where to turn if they experience such behavior.

One of the resources available is the unit for anonymous handling of sexual harassment and sexism, where all employees can anonymously and safely report incidents. Established in 2021, the unit provides guidance on the help and support available to those who have experienced unwanted sexual behavior. The unit also assists with preventive measures.

The municipality already conducts a well-being survey every two years. In the latest survey this year, the overall well-being score was 5.7 on a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 represents the most positive assessment of well-being.


Copenhagen Municipality invited 44,652 employees to participate. In total, 21,532 responded to the survey, accounting for 48 percent. In 2022, the response rate was 45 percent.

Among the women who responded to the survey, 17 percent have experienced sexist culture or behavior, compared to 17 percent in 2022. For men participating in the survey, 12 percent have encountered sexist culture or behavior, down from 13 percent in 2022.

Among permanent employees, 15 percent acknowledged experiencing sexist culture or behavior, while the figure rises to 24 percent among temporary employees. Additionally, there is a relatively higher incidence of sexist culture or behavior reported by younger employees and those with shorter tenure.

Source: Copenhagen Municipality

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