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IWS-Nordic: A Nordic questionnaire assessing sexual harassment at work

Following standardized methods for questionnaire development, this project will develop and validate a questionnaire to assess sexual harassment in a standardized manner, across the Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The Danish questionnaire Inventory of Workplace Sexual Harassment (IWS) will be translated into Norwegian and Swedish. Using these Norwegian and Swedish versions of the questionnaire, survey data from employees in Norway and Sweden will be collected. In combination with Danish data that are already being collected, this pooled dataset containing survey data from the three included countries will be used to evaluate the questionnaire psychometrically and to identify a core of items that measure sexual harassment similarly across the included countries.

This Nordic questionnaire (IWS-Nordic) will provide an essential tool for comparative research on sexual harassment between the countries and for workplaces to initiate and monitor preventive action.

Customer Sexual Harassments in the Nordic Service Workplace

This project aims to carry out a critical analysis of how Nordic ideals regarding management and organisation impact the work environment of employees within service and retail. The project has a particular focus on ideals concerning customer orientation, often perceived as “natural” and self-evident to Nordic service organisational practice. We analyse the consequences of prioritising the customer, for example how this leads to problematic power relationships between customer and employee.

The project will contribute knowledge about if a customer-focused organisation can generate an unequal work environment, by upholding power and gender structures. And if these structures in turn provide an arena for violence and sexual harassment of service and retail employees. 

Share the Care – Attracting men to nursing education to counteract a gender-segregated labour market

The project, Share the Care, will provide new knowledge towards a less gender-segregated health care sector, a heavily female-dominated sector. The actions implemented are largely based on recommendation from previous research “Men in Nursing Education: Mapping Educational Practices, and Student Experiences in Iceland, Denmark, and Norway”.

This will be done by implementing a system to follow cohorts in nursing education and document reasons behind drop-outs and delays during study which will produce important knowledge to counteract the problem. Actions are planned to address educational material and communication, as well as creation of special platforms for male student to minimize the risk of exclusion and alienation. Groups of study and career counsellors will be formed to create knowledge and stimulate more men to engage in care work. These actions will be an important input for educational institutions and authorities on how to recruit and retain men in nursing education.

New Nordic Model for improved equality in the Nordic Media Industry

The objective of the project is to – across the Nordic Region – to gather knowledge and to highlight what inhibits and what promotes gender balance in the media industry. This is done in order to develop solutions that can lead to greater gender equality and equality in the industry.

During the autumn of 2020, a widespread culture of sexual violation was uncovered in the Danish media world – a culture that can be interpreted as a symptom of gender imbalance and inequality. The industry is struggling with informal power structures as well as a continuing hierarchical gender gap. In Norway, Sweden and Iceland, gender equality has been on the agenda for a long time – especially after the MeToo wave arrived here in 2017. The Danish debate now also gives Danish media companies the opportunity and motivation to work with culture and push further for the necessary changes. 

The project runs over three years and aims to ensure that knowledge about formal and informal equality in the Nordic media industry as well as the best experiences and solutions are shared so that they can be used in practice in the individual Nordic media companies. The aim is a real change in norms.

The project is led by the Danish School of Media and Journalism in close cooperation with experienced media leaders, the Nordic journalists’ associations and other relevant partners.

BioEquality – gender equality in the Nordic bioeconomy: a method manual

The forestry and agriculture sectors are important parts of the Nordic bioeconomy, but are two of the Nordic region’s most gender-segregated sectors. Digitalisation and increased automation of heavy work could benefit gender equality in the sectors. However, this has not yet happened.

The project examined how the digital transformation affects gender equality among young people in the Nordic bioeconomy and how digital development can promote gender equality. The project resulted in a method manual for an equal everyday life for the future employees in the bioeconomy and gave a deeper understanding of how the gender equality perspective can be integrated among both academia and business.

The project included Nordic Forest Research, Nordic Committee for Agricultural and Food Research, Skógarkonur, University of Eastern Finland, Research Council of Norway, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Norway, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Finland, The Federation of Swedish Farmers, Ålands Hushållningssällskap, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, University of Copenhagen and ten student representatives from universities in the Nordic Countries.

Young parents, parental leave and gender equality

The project has produced an overview report of previous research and statistics from the Nordic countries on the topic of young parents’s fertility and cultural conceptions of parenthood, attitudes related to gender equality in parenting. parental leave rights and possibilities to take leave and share it equally between parents.

Youth and student NGOs were invited to participate in the gathering of information for the report, as well as in the discussion of the results. The final report was published in March 2022 and the results were discussed in a webinar in the beginning of April with a wider audience of researchers, civil servants, labour market organisations, youth NGO representatives and politicians from all the Nordic countries

Based on the findings of the overview, a research article (in Finnish) have been published in a the Finnish Youth Research Network. The overview is also expected to lead to further applications to produce new research on the take-up and consequences of parental leave by young people.

The project provided a more nuanced, age-specific understanding of the possibilities and obstacles of gender equality among young parents in the Nordic countries. The similarities and differences in different countries provide valuable input and inspiration for future policies and good practice in promoting a more equal sharing of leave also among young parents, reducing the obstacles of childbearing and improving the wellbeing of young mothers, fathers and their children.

Sexual harassment in the health sector

The health sector has a high share of part-time and temporary employments, as well as high rates of sick leave. As such, it is particularly vulnerable to different forms of power abuse.

This project developed a Nordic network that mapped how Nordic municipalities counteract sexual harassment in the health sector. The comparative work resulted in a booklet on how to work pro-active to counteract sexual harassments.

The results were presented in conjunction with a Nordic digital conference, and were also made available in the different municipalities.

For more information, please see the final report.

Equality in isolated labour markets (EQUIL)

According to ideals about gender equality, both men and women are presumed to take part in labour market activities and caring for the family, but we know very little about how such ideals are negotiated in areas with restricted employment opportunities. This project compared three relatively isolated areas in the Nordic region: Narsaq in South Greenland (pop. 1,600); Suðuroy in the Faroe Islands (pop. 4,600) and Læsø in Denmark (pop. 1,800). The project aimed at understanding local strategies and gender roles among men and women living in relatively isolated areas in terms of making a living, maintaining ties to the local community, and potentially achieve gender equality.

Findings differ among the three locations due to different geographic realities as well as different historic, economic and demographic trajectories. Nevertheless, the comparison provide valuable new insights, as knowledge gained from such research can contribute to planning of sustainable demographic and economic development, and deepen our understanding of the role of place in such developments.

Find out more in the report Equality in Isolated Labour Markets

Investigation of harassment and sexual harassment at work

Sexual harassment is a major problem in the hotel and restaurant industry. Studies of experienced sexual harassment amongst members of the Norwegian Commonwealth Association and the Danish Federation of Professional Associations 3F show that 21 percent in Norway and 24 percent in Denmark have experienced sexual harassment in employment. In Sweden, approximately 13 percent of female employees in the hotel and restaurant industry have experienced sexual harassment from customers, and 6 percent say they have experienced sexual harassment from managers or colleagues.

This project conducted a study to gain more knowledge about effective handling of cases of harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace. Part of this work was to investigate the relationship between sexual harassment and harassment on other grounds. The study and work against harassment was the theme of a seminar in the fall of 2018. Target groups included persons with experience of the hotel and restaurant industry and/or workplace harassment. 

Gender equality in workplace-based learning in the Nordic countries

Many young people still choose their occupation by gender. One way to support young people to dare to choose and pursue an untraditional career choice is to support their early contact with working life. For most, the contact occurs during vocational education in workplace-based learning. Workplace supervisors need support to pay attention to uneven structures. Teachers in school need to prepare students for what they may meet in working life and give them strategies to navigate.

The purpose of this project was to highlight good examples, identify success factors, and provide tools for change to schools and workplaces. Equality in workplace-based learning was a Nordic idea and experience exchange. The project charts the methods we already used, shared them in networking meetings, and documented experiences on the web. The aim was to provide tools that could be used in gender equality work in education.

Updated 6 April 2022