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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 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. 

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 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. 

New report gives gender perspectives on the high-tech labour market of the future

How will gender equality and sustainability be achieved in the high-tech labour market of the future? A new report examines how the Nordic countries are working to break down gender segregation in natural scientific and technical fields (STEM). The report shows that many initiatives are based on the assumption that the solution is to ‘fix women’. This renders gender inequality and structural barriers invisible. 

On assignment from the Nordic Council of Ministers, NIKK has produced the report Genusperspektiv på framtidens högteknologiska arbetsliv – En nordisk forskningsöversikt om utbildningsval inom STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) [Gender perspective on the high-tech labour market of the future – A Nordic research overview on education choices within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)]”. The report provides an overall picture of what the research says, and make an inventory and analysis of initiatives in the STEM sector in the Nordic countries. An international outlook gives examples of how countries outside the Nordic countries are handling skewed recruitment to the STEM area.

“The picture is clear. Globally as well as in the Nordic countries, these initiatives generally aim in various ways to change girls and women rather than challenge gendered privilege, organisations or the gender norms surrounding science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other science subjects. This renders the structural barriers that exist invisible,” says Ulrika Jansson, who wrote the report together with Jimmy Sand.

Furthermore, in these initiatives, there is an assumption that women need to be inspired and supported through role models and mentoring.

“Most likely some of these initiatives do help girls and women to fit into courses and study programmes and professions dominated by men and a masculine subject area and occupational culture. But they are unlikely to challenge either established privilege or norms, nor to lead to radical change in mainstream activities and the organisation of work,” says Ulrika Jansson.

The need for a broader approach

The report shows that a much broader approach is needed. Looking at the situation from an organisation theory gender perspective, clear patterns emerge. Explanatory models for gendered study choices, gender-segregated labour markets and gender imbalance in the STEM area show very clearly that notions, assumptions and norms about gender, women and men, femininity and masculinity, set the framework and stipulate the terms for people’s scope for action. Heterosexuality is the norm and ethnicity or functional diversity is in principle not visible at all.

“Connections between men, masculinity and technical knowledge are created in everyday practices and are neither natural nor universal. These connections are made in a variety of ways, by different actors and in different contexts,” says Jimmy Sand.

In addition, there are norms in the education system, with gendered ideals of science, knowledge and science subjects that create limits for inclusive and sustainable education and a sustainable working life.

“All in all, these norms set the terms for both men’s and women’s study and career choices and in the labour market, at both the individual and structural levels. Terms where the outcome does not benefit women, but does benefit men,” says Jimmy Sand. For a sustainable and gender-equal working life in the future, it is important to ask other questions about skills and occupations as well, the report shows. How will the Nordic countries’ skills supply be guaranteed and what might this look like in order to increase gender equality? What types of skills do the Nordic countries need, apart from more engineers?

The research overview that is the central part of this report is based on a systematic review of 199 articles published in scholarly journals published during the period 2000–2019. Read the full report here.

Genusperspektiv på framtidens högteknologiska arbetsliv – en nordisk forskningsöversikt om utbildningsval inom STEM

New publication highlights gender equality effects of COVID-19

It has been one year since the Corona pandemic first hit the Nordic countries and the consequences are far from gender neutral. How are the Nordic countries handling the effects of COVID-19 on gender equality? NIKK’s new publication summarises knowledge, initiatives and measures regarding gender equality in relation to the pandemic.

Early on, the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality have jointly stressed the importance of measures to prevent the coronavirus crisis from becoming a gender equality crisis. Which initiatives have been taken to prevent that and what do we know about gender equality effects of COVID-19 today – one year later? NIKK’s new publication Gender equality effects of COVID-19 – Knowledge and initiatives in the Nordic summarises knowledge produced thus far in the Nordic coun­tries and brings together the gender equality initiatives and measures that the Nordic countries have initiated in relation to the pandemic. In focus are areas such as domestic violence, the economy and working life, and mental health.

– The pandemic has shown and worsened many aspects of inequalities. We see urgent gender equality effects and measures based on the knowledge that exists are needed, says Elin Engström.

The Nordic countries have many similarities when it comes to how their labour markets and welfare systems are organised. But these countries also differ, in particular regarding how they have dealt with the pandemic. The new publication brings together what we know, and how the Nordic countries are working to deal with the crisis from a gender equality perspective.

– Increased knowledge can help us to prepare better. By learning from each other, the Nordic countries can equip themselves better now and when faced with future crises. That is why we have produced this publication, says Elin Engström.

Gender equality effects of COVID-19 – Knowledge and initiatives in the Nordic countries is based on data from the Nordic countries as well as interviews with researchers and experts. The publication is available here.

First open call for Nordic Research Initiative opens today

Photo: Carina Elmäng

Research and evidence-based knowledge is essential to be able to develop new and effective measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Today opens the first of two open calls within 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-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. The research initiative consists of two open calls for proposals, both will be launched in 2021.  Open Call 1 opens on 20 April.

About Open Call 1

The open call 1 is aimed at currently ongoing research projects, which through approval of a Nordic grant could contribute to new knowledge regarding sexual harassment in Nordic working life. The focus will be on preventive measures, as well as methods for intervention.  

Key dates:

  • Open Call 1 opens: 20 April 2021
  • Open Call 1 closes: 10 June 2021 at 14:00 CET
  • Preliminary time for decisions: September 2021

Assessment and decisions

Applications that meet the criteria will be assessed by external academic reviewers. Decisions will be announced by NIKK, after consulting the interdisciplinary reference group appointed by the Nordic Council of Ministers in connection with this initiative. Decisions are final.

Guide for applicants – applying for Open Call 1

Information about aim, criteria and application contents can be found in the Guide for applicants. 
Please read the guide carefully and prepare any required attachments to be uploaded before you fill out, and submit, the application form.

Digital information meeting on 6 May

A digital info meeting will be organised for those who have questions about the call and plan to apply: Thursday, 6 May, 13.00-14:30 CET

Interested in participating? Please email no later than 3 May.

Communication and dissemination from the research initiative

NIKK will administer the research initiative and disseminate information about and knowledge from the projects that are awarded grants. In the winter of 2022/2023, a Nordic dissemination conference is planned, covering both calls of the research initiative, in co-operation with the Norwegian Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers for 2022.

Read more about the Nordic research initiative here

NIKK and Nordregio arrange the webinar Gender equality – a key to rural prosperity


The population structure in the Nordic countries is changing fast. Ageing, migration, and urbanisation pose challenges for both labour markets and welfare provision – especially in remote rural regions. The current Covid crisis adds fuel to the fire and the response and resilience differs widely between countries and regions. What are the solutions towards a more sustainable regional development?

Two new reports point to the importance of adding a gender perspective to regional policy and planning, especially in remote areas. Men and women have different migration patterns and educational aspirations. The gender-segregated labour market and traditional gender roles in responsibility for care are persistent. What if rural areas could be frontrunners in breaking gender stereotypes and enabling work-life balance for young families and local entrepreneurs?

NIKK, Nordic Information on Gender, and Nordregio, Nordic Institute for Regional Development, invites you to a webinar on March 25 exploring the connection between gender and regional development. What can we learn from research and proactive policies, regional experts and local change-makers from some of the most isolated places in the Nordics? Join the discussion on Zoom!

Read more about the seminar
Language: English
Questions about the event: Elin Engström, Head of operations, NIKK, +46 766-229 239,

Ministers initiate research on sexual harassment at work

The Nordic Council of Ministers supports joint research on sexual harassment at work with 3,7 million Danish crowns.  The initiative is especially focused on prevention and methods for intervention through industry studies and comparative studies of different industries. Other topics for the Finnish presidency are hate and threat, men’s care responsibility and norms in preschools.

Violence, harassment and other forms of vulnerability at work are major societal challenges with serious consequences for individuals and workplace organisations. At the same time there are major gaps in our knowledge about methods for preventing and stopping violence and harassment, protecting victims and being proactive in workplace environments. 

 “Although our awareness about sexual harassment has increased in recent years, the phenomenon has by no means disappeared. Research and evidence-based knowledge has an important role in developing new and effective measures to combat sexual harassment, says Thomas Blomqvist, Finnish Minister for Gender Equality and Nordic Co-operation and newly appointed Chairman for the Nordic gender equality and LGBTI cooperation. This is an extremely important issue, where Nordic cooperation and exchange of knowledge can bring great added value.” 

Thomas Blomqvist. Photo:
Thomas Blomqvist. Photo:

This is a cross-sectoral research initiative jointly with several sectors within the Nordic cooperation. The collaborative sectors are gender equality, culture, working life and the Nordic Committee for Children and Young People. Further sectors may be added at a later date. 

Objectives for the initiative 

The overarching objectives of the initiative are:  

  • 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.  
  • 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  

The research initiative spans over 2021 – 2023 and is administered by Nordic Information on Gender, NIKK, on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Two calls will be made during 2021.  

Activities against hate and threats

Apart from the research initiative the Finnish presidency will, within the Nordic gender equality cooperation, also focus on activities against hate and threats, especially harassments on the net. Issues about norms and gender stereotypes will also be in focus, especially concerning preschools. Regarding these issues a Nordic survey will be made, with present research, reports and legislation and a Nordic conference will be arranged, to present new knowledge and exchange experiences.  

Men’s care responsibility, fatherhood and parental leave are also issues that will be highlighted during the year. The Finnish presidency continues to establish the new policy area concerning rights, treatment and possibilities for LGBTI people. In November this will be the focus of a conference.

Apply for funding for Nordic co-operation in the gender equality and LGBTI area

From early in 2021, it will be possible to apply for funding from the Nordic Gender Equality Fund again. Activities that want to establish Nordic co-operation projects in the gender equality area can apply for funding for these projects. New for 2021 is the LGBTI Fund to promote Nordic efforts to improve conditions for LGBTI people. In total, nearly three and a half million Danish kroner will be distributed for Nordic co-operation.

On 1 March 2021, Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK) will again be open to applications for funding for Nordic co-operation projects in the gender equality area. As in previous years, 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 in these projects are to start during 2021 and be completed within two years The funds can be used to develop joint methods, develop new knowledge, hold conferences and establish networks, etc. A total of DKK 1,975,000 will be distributed.

Important dates for the Nordic Gender Equality Fund

Complete the application form which will be available at during the application period.

  • 1 March – Applications open
  • 31 March – Deadline for applications
  • May – Decisions notified to applicants
  • June – Contracts drawn up.

New fund to improve conditions for LGBTI people

As of 2021, the strategy for the new Nordic co-operation on conditions for LGBTI persons will become operative. Part of this work is the new fund which aims to promote Nordic co-operation in the LGBTI area in accordance with the LGBTI addendum to the Nordic Co-operation Programme on Gender Equality. Projects that contribute to efforts for LGBTI people’s equal rights, treatment and opportunities in the Nordic countries can apply for funding from this Fund. A total of DKK 1,238,000 will be distributed. NIKK will start accepting applications after summer 2021. There will be more information about the new LGBTI Fund available in early 2021.

The following projects were granted funding in 2020:

Young voices made their mark during the Danish Presidency

Virtual meetings, cancelled conferences and unexpected changes. But gender equality efforts in the Nordic countries have not slowed down – quite the opposite. In 2020 for example, a three-year research effort was initiated to combat sexual harassment, and conditions for LGBTI people has become a separate policy area.

The year 2020 is drawing to an end. The ongoing pandemic has brought about huge changes, but also new solutions. As the Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality is to be handed over to Finland, Kira Appel, Deputy Head of the Department of Gender Equality in the Ministry of Employment in Denmark, looks back on an historic year with mixed feelings.

“All physical meetings and conferences have had to be cancelled, which has been extremely unfortunate. Nevertheless, we have succeeded in carrying out the activities that were planned.

During the year, the Danish Presidency’s work with gender equality has focused on four areas: the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform, violence and harassment, men and gender equality, and LGBTI issues.

Young people in the Nordic countries setting the agenda

This year, the Global Action Plan on Gender Equality, the Beijing Platform, turned 25 years old. This was marked by the campaign #GenerationEqualityNordic. As part of this campaign, the Nordic ministers for gender equality invited young people to drive work with gender equality forward by allowing them to post texts about the gender equality issues that they consider to be the most important.

“We have had a great focus on young people and how to ensure that they are heard in the planning of gender equality efforts,” says Kira Appel.

The conversations started during the campaign were to be taken further by the ministers at this year’s many global summits, as well as the Nordic Youth Summit on Gender Equality in Copenhagen in May. The summit was cancelled and instead the young people were invited to the meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality in November. Their perspective will be included in the new Nordic Co-operation Programme on Gender Equality.

Research effort: How to prevent sexual harassment

At their meeting in November, the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality also decided to invest in a major research-based knowledge boost about sexual harassment in the workplace. The initiative will run for three years and contribute new knowledge about sexual harassment in the workplace, with a focus on prevention. The research effort is cross-sectoral, with funding totalling DKK 4.8 million. Part of this sum will be distributed through two separate open calls for proposals in 2021 to fund inter-Nordic research collaborations.

In November, the report entitled “The Angry Internet”, which was produced by the Centre for Digital Youth Care on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers, was also published. It examines Internet forums consisting of young men, where they discuss, incite and encourage misogyny. The report and its results were presented at a virtual event. The report has attracted great political interest and engagement in the Nordic region as well as globally.

An overall objective of the Danish Presidency was to include the western Nordic regions in work with gender equality and in February a seminar on fatherhood was held in the Faroe Islands. Next year, a seminar on violence will be held in Greenland.

LGBTI issues now a separate area

One of the biggest achievements of the year is that the Nordic countries’ work with  conditions for LGBTI persons was established as a separate area.

“In the past, this area was spread out and in many instances it was forgotten about,” says Kira Appel.

In a survey to identify where the Nordic countries are lacking in their work to assure the physical and mental health of LGBTI people, a number of problems emerged. These included a lack of knowledge among government agencies and health care providers as well as negative attitudes in general. This needs to change with the aid of the new strategy that has been developed as an addendum to the existing Co-operation Programme.

Although 2020 will go down in history as one of the most revolutionary in modern times, Nordic gender equality efforts have continued to make strong progress.

“Our work has been somewhat thrown off balance due to the pandemic, but we are very pleased with what we have managed to do despite this,” says Kira Appel.

New call for proposals to combat gender segregation in the Nordic labour market

This year, the Nordic Council of Ministers will be issuing a call for proposals from actors in the Nordic countries co-operating in projects aimed at combating gender segregation in the labour market. A total of DKK 4 million in funding will be distributed for up to four years to Nordic co-operation projects working for lasting change in this area.

In mid-August 2020, the Nordic Council of Ministers will open for applications containing proposals aimed at combating gender segregation in the labour market. Through this call, the Nordic Council of Ministers hopes to contribute to a more sustainable working life that makes the best use of the potential of all people.

Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s Minister for Equal Opportunities and Nordic Cooperation, points out that this issue is of great importance to all the Nordic countries.

“The Nordic countries have come a long way in terms of gender equality, and participation in the labour market is high among both women and men. But on the other hand, the labour market remains quite extensively gender-segregated, which has consequences for everyone, regardless of gender, in a variety of areas ranging from personal economy and power and influence to health and quality of life. That is why grants from the Nordic Gender Equality Fund are going to be distributed to projects aiming to tackle this problem.”

This initiative is particularly urgent in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as its consequences are impacted by the gender segregation in the labour market. Many hard-hit industries, such as health care, education, and transport, are very gender-segregated. This means that women and men are being impacted unequally by loss of income and changes in demand for labour and in working conditions.

Priority issue in Nordic co-operation

Combating gender segregation in the labour market is a strategic area of action in the Nordic Co-operation Programme on Gender Equality 2019–2022.  This area encompasses a number of important aspects of gender equality including choice of education, working conditions, and freedom from sexual harassment. The programme is a unique opportunity to confront these challenges through Nordic co-operation and work for gender equality and a sustainable working life for everyone.

“It’s a unique initiative, and an area in which Nordic co-operation is highly relevant since the labour markets in the Nordic countries are structured in similar ways in many respects. We know that there is a great deal of expertise and willingness to drive development forward out there. And we hope that this will be reflected in the applications received,” says Mogens Jensen.

Susanna Young Håkansson

Updated 20 October 2020