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Fact sheet release: the public sphere

NIKK’s publication of a fact sheet highlighting issues of gender inequality within the public sphere aims to utilise knowledge obtained through Nordic cooperation and shed light on actors and decision makers to achieve the goal of a gender-equal Nordic region.


How can the public sphere become a place for everyone? Despite progression in the Nordic countries, the public sphere is still not for everyone. Sexist advertising, the invisibility of certain groups in the media and online hate speech risk silencing many voices and limit the actions of certain individuals and groups.

For this reason, the theme of gender equality in the public sphere has been at the forefront of our assignment, and the Nordic Council of Ministers has subsequently decided to lift the topic in recent projects. The aim is to highlight particular areas in which inequality still prohibits individuals and groups and hinders gender equality in the Nordic region.

NIKK’s recently published fact sheet highlights three major obstacles to gender equality within the public sphere, based from reports published by actors within the Nordic cooperation.

Sexist advertising

Sexist advertising is one of the areas targeted in the fact sheet and is based from results originating in the original reported titled ‘Sexist Advertisement in the Nordic countries – An Evaluation of Regulations and Implementation’ published by The Swedish Women’s Lobby in 2016. One of the report findings show that Iceland takes the strongest lead of the Nordic countries in counteracting against sexist advertising, partly on the grounds of the ease of reporting violations. Individuals may highlight any form of sexist advertising by contacting the Centre for Gender Equality via telephone, email or online form submission.

Women in the media

Media representation is another area taken issue with in a following cooperative project titled ‘Women and men in the news: Report on gender representation in Nordic news content and the Nordic media industry’, published in 2017. The report’s findings show that women are generally unrepresented with the disparity between male to female coverage being heavily outweighed; women standing as just 24 percent of news subjects.

Click here to read the full report on women and men in the news.

Online hate speech and cyberbullying

The final highlighted report, ‘Online hate speech – review of the legal regulation in the Nordic countries from a gender equality perspective’, discusses limitations of freedom that exist for women in online environments. Online hate speech silences particular voices on the internet and therefore presents a threat to democracy and genuine freedom of expression for all in the public sphere.

Click here to read the full report on online hate speech.

Latest updated 2 July 2020