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Mobilising against hatred and harassment during the Finnish Presidency


Over the past year, the Nordic countries have taken joint action to promote gender equality. Police officers as well as preschool teachers have been invited to share experiences and find solutions with their Nordic colleagues.


Over the past year, the Nordic countries have taken joint action to promote gender equality. Police officers as well as preschool teachers have been invited to share experiences and find solutions with their Nordic colleagues.

2021 is now over. The Finnish Presidency has rounded off a year in which there have been many opportunities to learn from each other in the area of gender equality and LGBTI issues in the Nordic region.

Hanna Onwen-Huma, Chair of the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality and LGBTI (ÄK-JÄM), mention the two-day conference ‘Gender-based Hate, Threat and Harassment on the Internet’ in the summer as an example.

“Victimisation online is a problem we see across the Nordic region, and we can benefit from looking at each other’s work,” she says.

The key takeaways from the conference have been summarised by independent expert Elina Nikulainen. Hanna Onwen-Huma believes that the police in the Nordic countries can benefit greatly from working together to find solutions.

“We see that online harassment often falls through the cracks with the police. Their work is divided up in such a way that some work on cybercrime and others on sexual harassment, and they do not interact. This is a problem throughout the Nordic region,” she says.

Focus on early childhood education

Another issue that has been in focus during the Finnish Presidency is gender equality in early childhood education. The work in the Nordic region has been mapped in the report “Changing Stereotypes and Breaking Traditions”. Using the report as a starting point, a seminar was held in early September for preschool teachers on how they can improve the preschool’s gender equality efforts in relation to the children.

“This is an important question because we know that what we learn as children influences the life choices we see as possible, and this is also reflected later in life,” says Hanna Onwen-Huma.

Hate targeting LGBTI people

In the LGBTI area, the Nordic Council of Ministers has a particular focus on hate crime in 2021. A survey was carried out on what different countries are doing in this area, and a seminar was held at the end of November focusing on successful examples.

“It brought together different actors such as police officers and representatives of LGBTI organisations. I think it was very fruitful,” says Hanna Onwen-Huma.

One challenge in the work to prevent hate crime is that many victims do not report it to the police.  

“We need to change this, and we can see that the results are better when the police and LGBTI organisations work together,” says Hanna Onwen-Huma.

Online during the pandemic

Many of the activities during the year had to be carried out online due to the pandemic.

“In practical terms, this meant extra work as we had to reschedule several times at the last minute, but I don’t think the quality has suffered,” says Hanna Onwen-Huma.

The only event it was not possible to hold was the conference ‘Nordic Fathers on Paternity Leave’. It was due to be held in 2021 but has been postponed until March 2022.

Norway takes over the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers for 2022.

“They have excellent plans for the area of gender equality next year,” says Hanna Onwen-Huma, and explains that these include looking more closely at the anti-gender debate from a global perspective.

“The Nordic countries will join forces to see how we can fight against this movement, which is attacking the work to strengthen the rights of girls, women and LGBTI people.”


New Nordic co-operation projects strengthen the LGBTI area

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During autumn 2021, the Nordic LGBTI Fund was open for applications for funding for the very first time. Two projects strengthening the LGBTI area in the Nordic region has now been granted funding.


The Nordic LGBTI Fund’s first call for proposals has resulted in two new, Nordic co-operation projects in the LGBTI area. One project is going to gather and develop networks for queers in Sápmi. The other one will arrange a conference, bringing together Nordic organisations that work to improve rights and living conditions for the LGBT+ population. Read more about the projects and their work on the projects’ respective pages.

Projects granted funding from the Nordic  LGBTI Fund 2021

The Nordic LGBTI Fund is administrated by NIKK on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Information about the call for proposals for 2022 is available here.

The Nordic countries are combating hate crime targeting LGBTI people

The Nordic countries are among the most progressive in the world when it comes to the health and well-being of LGBTI people. Yet many are exposed to violence, hatred, intimidation and harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. A new report has just been released which sheds light on this situation.


The report entitled Hate crimes targeting LGBTI people in the Nordic countries describes how these countries are working to capture and combat hate crime targeting LGBTI people and points out important actors, strategies and legislation.

All people should be able to live and work in the Nordic countries without fear of hatred, threats and discrimination. This report gives us a better basis for improving the situation of LGBTI people by pointing to what efforts are needed. For example, decision makers, the authorities and civil society all need to work together in better ways, says Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Gender Equality.

The report presents how the police and the legal system work when it comes to hate crimes in each country for example. It also gives examples of knowledge-enhancement initiatives and support for victims of crime. The role and efforts of civil society are also a focus.


Preventive efforts common

A somewhat positive picture of the trend in the Nordic countries in recent decades emerges from the report, which names new legislation protecting LGBTI people against hatred and discrimination as a contributing factor to this. The majority of these countries are also working to prevent and identify hate crimes against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Often, a number of authorities and civil society organisations are involved in this work.

Other factors that point in a positive direction are that hate crimes are prioritised by the police in many of these countries. It is also common to keep statistics on how often and where hate crimes take place in order to enhance knowledge about them. Many of these countries are also engaged in knowledge-enhancing measures which aim to get more people to report these crimes, or to improve the skills of those who encounter the victims of these crimes in their work.

A number of challenges for these countries in combating hate crime emerge from the report – challenges related to the work of the police and how cooperation between different actors functions. Examples of these challenges are that the police sometimes fail to recognise hate motives in crimes, and that those groups that are particularly at risk of hate crime often lack confidence in the police. These are factors which make it more difficult to solve hate crimes. The report also highlights the need to improve cooperation between the police and civil society crime victim support activities.


Several initiatives to improve the situation of LGBTI people in the Nordic countries

This report is one of several initiatives within the framework of the regional LGBTI strategy adopted by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2020. Previous initiatives have focused on the health and well-being of young LGBTI people and next year a research review of the living conditions of older LGBTI people is planned. The report Hate crimes targeting LGBTI people in the Nordic countries was produced by Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK) on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

It will be presented in conjunction with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ seminar LGBTI People’s Safety and Well-being – Good Practices in the Nordics held in Helsinki on 30 November.

Read the full report here (PDF)
An accessible version of the publication can be found here

Gender perspectives on sustainability focus of new project


How can we enable sustainable living in the Nordic region? How can we better understand how differences in lifestyle arise? This is the focus for the project Sustainability, lifestyles, and consumption from a gender perspective, which is a part of the cross-sectoral Sustainable lifestyles in the Nordic region programme. The project is implemented by NIKK, tasked by the Nordic Council of Ministers. It starts during autumn 2021.

 


In a mapping, differences in women’s and men’s lifestyles and consumption in the Nordic countries will be examined. Through current knowledge, the mapping aims to make gender stereotypes visible and challenged in relation to consumption and lifestyle, and contribute to a better understanding of how differences arise, are strengthened and reproduced.

‘The project aims to illustrate gender differences in lifestyles and consumption and the need for future policies and practices to integrate gender aspects into sustainable consumption. As gender equality is key in order to achieve a sustainable Nordic region, the project contributes greatly to the vision of the Nordic Council of Ministers of becoming the most sustainable and integrated region in the world in 2030’, says Kristin Mattsson, steering group member of the cross-sectoral Nordic programme.

Sustainability and lifestyle concepts will be studied and analysed from a broad intersectional gender perspective, in relation to themes raised in the cross-sectoral program on sustainable lifestyles. These can be, for example, communication about sustainability, education for sustainability, sustainable cultural and food experiences.

Critical and intersectional perspectives will be included thoroughly to make visible and problematize how different power structures intersect, for example how class and age affect both consumption habits and norms around consumption.

By analysing sustainability and lifestyle from a gender perspective, the project contributes to improving understanding and opportunities for sustainable consumption. The knowledge mapping will be launched in autumn 2022.

About the Sustainable lifestyles in the Nordic region programme

The cross-sectoral programme Sustainable lifestyles in the Nordic region programme is a collaboration between the Nordic co-operations for sustainable development, environment and climate, food, culture, education and research, gender equality and Nordbuk, the Nordic committee for children and youth. The programme is carried out 2021-2024 and aims to make it easier and more attractive for Nordic consumers to prioritise healthy and climate and environmental friendly choices. Through several cross-sectorial initiatives, it will contribute to fasten the normalisation of sustainable lifestyles in the Nordic region.

The programme, as well as the project focusing on gender perspectives on sustainably contribute to the Nordic vision, especially the part concerning a green Nordic region, as well as several of the Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030.


Research projects granted funds for new knowledge about sexual harassment at work

How do Nordic ideals, regarding management and organisation, impact the work environment of employees within service and retail – when the customer is the perpetrator of sexual harassment? A questionnaire that could provide an essential tool for comparative research on sexual harassment in the Nordic region – how could it be designed and tested? This will be analysed in the two research projects that have been granted funds in the first Open Call within the research initiative by the Nordic Council of Ministers.


In order to develop new and effective efforts to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, evidence- and research-based knowledge is essential. In light of this, the Nordic Council of Ministers decided to support a Nordic research initiative, in co-operation between several sectors within the Nordic collaboration.

Sectors involved include gender equality, culture, working life and the Nordic Committee for Children and Young People.

Granted research projects in Open Call 1

This spring the first of two Open Calls opened, within the Nordic Research Initiative. Open Call 1 was aimed at ongoing research projects, where a grant from the research initiative would enable a Nordic dimension to be added to the project.

Applications that met the criteria was assessed by three external academic reviewers. Decisions were made after consulting the intersectorial reference group appointed by the Nordic Council of Ministers in connection with this initiative. The following research projects have been granted funds in Open Call 1:

Customer Sexual Harassments in the Nordic Service Workplace

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

Overarching objectives of the initiative

  • To contribute towards new knowledge on sexual harassment at work in the Nordic countries, with a focus on preventive measures and intervention methods
  • To contribute towards a good knowledge base for policy development and to cross-sectoral Nordic collaboration within the Nordic Council of Ministers
  • For the research to be of high academic quality, practice-based and well communicated
  • To be relevant to the collaborative sectors involved, for affected industries and for the working life actors 

NIKK – Nordic Information on Gender, a Nordic cooperation body under the Nordic Council of Ministers, is administering the research initiative. NIKK will also disseminate information about and knowledge from the projects that are awarded grants in the two Open Calls.

NIKK – Nordic Information on Gender, a Nordic cooperation body under the Nordic Council of Ministers, is administering the research initiative. NIKK will also disseminate information about and knowledge from the projects that are awarded grants in the two Open Calls.

Read more about the research initiative and the two Open Calls.

New co-operation projects strengthen gender equality in the Nordic region


Who commits gendered online abuse – and how can the harm be curbed? Those are issues in focus by one of the six projects that have been granted funding from the Nordic Gender Equality Fund 2021. Another project will develop a Nordic method to create an inclusive and gender equal school, with a focus on student participation.


During spring 2021, the Nordic Gender Equality Fund was open for applications for funding for the ninth year in a row. The call for proposals has resulted in six new, Nordic co-operation projects in the gender equality area. Read more about the projects and their work on the projects’ respective pages.

Projects granted funding by the Nordic Gender Equality Fund 2021

The Nordic Gender Equality Fund is administrated by NIKK on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Information about the call for proposals for 2022 will be available later on this year. Read more about the fund here.


Apply for research funds for new knowledge about sexual harassment in working life

Today, studies on the prevention of sexual harassment in workplaces in the Nordic countries are largely lacking. Knowledge is needed about why they work or not, about who is reached and not reached through the preventive work. Today, 26 August, the second of two calls opens within the framework of a Nordic research initiative, focusing on these issues. 


In order to develop new and effective efforts to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, evidence- and research-based knowledge is essential. In light of this, the Nordic Council of Ministers has decided to support a Nordic research initiative, in co-peration between several sectors within the Nordic collaboration. Sectors involved include gender equality, culture, working life and the Nordic Committee for Children and Young People.  The research initiative consists of two open calls for proposals, both launched in 2021. 

Maria Grönroos, co-ordinator for the Nordic research initiative Photo: Ragnhild Fjellro

“Open Call 2 is aimed at researchers and working life actors in the Nordic region who intend to initiate practice-oriented research activities with high quality, in close collaboration. The projects should have a Nordic benefit by contributing with new knowledge on sexual harassment in the workplace in the Nordic region”, says Maria Grönroos, co-ordinator for the research initiative, administered by NIKK, Nordic Information on Knowledge on gender. 

Industry-specific or industry comparative approach  

Industries face in part different, and in part, similar challenges. There is therefore potential for synergies if local analyses are also tied to more generic knowledge about sexual harassment and interventions, and if co-operation between industries occurs. Comparisons between different industries could provide a clear understanding of industry-specific and cross-industry challenges and opportunities.  The applications should be based on partnership between at least three Nordic countries/areas of the Nordic region.  

 
Interdisciplinarity, intersectionality and defining concepts  

Sexual harassment in the workplace touches on many areas of knowledge – from work sciences research to research on health, organisations, power, violence, etc. For sustainable and robust knowledge, proposals are encouraged to include interdisciplinary approaches to their projects.   

Intersectional approaches where aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different discrimination modes and privilege are relevant to managing sexual harassment at work.  

“International research shows that people belonging to minority groups, or at risk of harassing due to attributes such as age, disability or sexuality, also have greater risk of being sexually harassed. Proposals are encouraged to address the diversified and complex reality in working life to contribute to well-targeted and effective prevention and new intervention methods”, says Maria Grönroos. 

The lack of clear definitions of concepts related to sexual harassment makes it difficult to work in the area. The legal construction of the term sexual harassment provides limited space to understand the phenomenon or what the victim experiences sexual harassment. A recommendation is to require reflection and clarity of the use of terms and interpretation of these conditions in the projects.  

Digital information meeting on 2 September  

A digital info meeting will be organised for those who have questions about the call and plan to apply: Thursday, 2 September, 13.00-14:30 CET .

Interested in participating? Please email maria.gronroos@genus.gu.se no later than 30 August.  

 


NIKK is a Nordic cooperation body under the Nordic Council of Ministers. NIKK collect and disseminate knowledge about politics and practice, facts and research in the area of ​​gender equality in a Nordic perspective. 


Knowledge to improve the life conditions of young LGBTI persons in the Nordic Countries

Despite the fact that life conditions of LGBTI persons* in the Nordic countries have changed in the last seventy years, major public health surveys indicate that this group suffers from an increased amount of mental and physical health issues compared to the rest of the population. Younger generations of LGBTI persons see their lives affected, too, by having a sexuality or gender identity that falls outside the traditional norm. Today a report is being presented (produced by NIKK on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers) that describes the current state of research and presents a number of efforts intended to improve the life conditions of this group.


Despite the fact that life conditions of LGBTI persons* in the Nordic countries have changed in the last seventy years, major public health surveys indicate that this group suffers from an increased amount of mental and physical health issues compared to the rest of the population. Younger generations of LGBTI persons see their lives affected, too, by having a sexuality or gender identity that falls outside the traditional norm. Today a report is being presented (produced by NIKK on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers) that describes the current state of research and presents a number of efforts intended to improve the life conditions of this group.  

The purpose of the report Health, well-being and life conditions of young LGBTI persons in the Nordic countries is to spread knowledge and experiences in the region, in order to contribute to better life conditions. The report consists of two parts:  

  • A research overview describing the current state of research regarding the health and well-being of young LGBTI persons in the Nordic countries, and 
  • A mapping, presenting a selection of efforts aimed to improve the well-being of young LGBTI persons in the Nordic countries. 

Health impact factors 

Studies that focus on mental health and experiences of, among other things, depression, anxiety, and stress, indicate that having a sexuality or gender identity which falls outside the norm seems to have a major impact on mental health. Trans persons in particular are reporting mental health issues exceeding the average. 

  • Studies show that it is also far more common among young LGBTI persons to experience self injury, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, says research overview author Anna Siverskog, Ph. D., and lecturer at the School of Health and Welfare at Jönköping University. 

The LGBTI group also reports below-average physical health, in particular among trans persons. Multiple studies further indicate above-average drug and alcohol abuse in the LGBTI group. They also show how norms prevalent in sports contexts may affect which adolescents feel welcome there.  

Norms and life conditions  

Studies acknowledge that many young LGBTI persons are unable to be as candid as they would like, regarding their sexuality or gender identity. Sexual harassment and vulnerability to violence appear to be common. Trans persons in particular are subjected to offensive treatment, or to harassment. Such violence is rarely reported to the police. The report highlights, among other materials, studies with a focus on school, working life, growing up in rural areas, the importance of geography, and contexts where religion and conservative norms hold sway.  

The report also addresses factors that create differences within the LGBTI group. For example, young bisexuals frequently display somewhat less well-being compared to young homosexuals. Differences between homo- and bisexual girls and boys can also be observed across multiple studies.  

Needs and measures 

A recurring model of explanation in the studies reviewed is that the difficulties experienced by young LGBTI persons in daily life revolve around what is known as minority stress. This is a concept used to describe a minority position which involves an increased risk of exposure to various psychosocial stressors (such as coping with bullying, discrimination, and violence). With this in mind, awareness-raising efforts are in focus when the studies propose any recommendations. 

Efforts made in the Nordic countries 

The mapping of efforts includes measures taken at municipal, regional and national levels, in many different areas throughout the Nordic countries. The efforts are targeting young people directly, as well as a number of professions with which they interact, such as school and healthcare staff. Other efforts may involve raising awareness about the situation of young LGBTI persons, and tasking key authorities with awarding the group a particular focus. 

It is mainly the LGBTI organisations of the respective nations who serve as the primary actors behind the efforts aimed directly at the target group. Other actors can be found among recreation leaders and social welfare secretaries operating locally, in a municipality or region. Collaboration frequently occurs between organisations and occupational groups. LGBTI organisations tend to function as repositories of knowledge, and provide professionals with education and in-service training covering issues pertaining to the health and life conditions of young LGBTI persons. 

Presentation of the report during World Pride 

The report Health, well-being and life conditions of young LGBTI persons in the Nordic countries is presented today, 16 August, during the World Pride panel debate “Nordic ministers gather forces for young LGBTI people’s wellbeing”. 

Since 2019, LGBTI issues have been an area of political co-operation in the Nordic Region, and in 2020 the Nordic Council of Ministers adopted the world’s first regional LGBTI strategy. 

*LGBTI  
LGBTI is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex.  
This term is used in the Nordic context as well as many other, international ones. 

Read about the new Nordic LGBTI Fund in four languages

This autumn, the Nordic LGBTI Fund opens up for applications for funding for the first time ever. We have gathered information about the new fund in a message available in in English, Finnish, Icelandic och Swedish. 


The fund is a part of the new Nordic co-operation on improving conditions for LGBTI people. NIKK is tasked to administrate the fund. It opens for applications for funding September 1 2021. 

The Fund finances projects in which at least three organisations from at least three of the Nordic countries will cooperate to promote equal rights, treatment and opportunities for LGBTI people in the Nordic countries. Projects that aim to respond in various ways to promote equal rights for LGBTI people, contribute new knowledge and promote exchanges of experience or which manifest and develop Nordic cooperation can apply for grants from the Fund. 

All information about the fund is now gathered in a message available in EnglishFinnishIcelandic och Swedish

New Nordic fund to promote equal rights for LGBTI people

Since 2020, the Nordic countries have been working together to ensure that LGBTI people have equal rights, equal treatment and equal opportunities in the region. This year, calls for proposals to finance projects from the Nordic LGBTI Fund are being issued for the first time. The Fund aims to promote Nordic efforts to improve conditions for LGBTI people. 


The strategy for new Nordic co-operation on improving conditions for LGBTI people will be put into effect in 2021. Part of this work is the new Fund, which aims to promote Nordic co-operation in the LGBTI area.  

“LGBTI people should be able to live free, open and good lives in the Nordic countries. The Nordic LGBTI Fund is an important part of achieving this. The Fund is a unique way of supporting work for change in the Nordic countries in the LGBTI area,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation and Gender Equality. 

Projects that contribute to work for equal rights, equal treatment and equal opportunities for LGBTI people in the Nordic countries can apply for financing from the Fund. A total of DKK 238,000 will be distributed. NIKK is the administrator of the Nordic LGBTI Fund on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers and will accept applications after the summer of 2021.  

As with the Nordic Gender Equality Fund, actors from at least three Nordic countries need to be involved in each application. Thanks to this co-operation, knowledge is growing and being shared across borders. We are finding common solutions and learning from each other. The activities should start during 2021 and are to be carried out within two years. The funding can be used to develop common methods and new knowledge, and to hold conferences and build networks, etc. 

“The new Fund will strengthen the work to ensure equal rights, equal treatment and equal opportunities for LGBTI people in the Nordic countries. We know that there is a great deal of expertise, knowledge and the will to drive this development forward, in particular in civil society. And we hope that this will be reflected in the applications received,” says Thomas Blomqvist. 
 

Preliminary important dates for the Nordic LGBTI Fund

You need to apply via a form, which will be available from nikk.no during the application period. 

  • 1 September – the call opens  
  • 30 September – deadline for applications  
  • November/December – decisions notified to applicants  
  • December – contracts will be signed 

 
Read more about the Nordic LGBTI Fund here and prepare your application by reading our guide for those seeking funding. 

Updated 24 November 2021