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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. Experience from the project will also form the basis for teaching and continuing training courses.

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. The Nordic Journalism Centre will be responsible for organising and conducting the course activity.

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 will examine how the digital transformation affects gender equality among young people in the Nordic bioeconomy and how digital development can promote gender equality. The project is expected to provide a deeper understanding of how the gender equality perspective can be integrated among both academia and business, as well as giving us a method manual for an equal everyday life for the future employees in the bioeconomy.

The project includes 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 will produce a Nordic overview of on the socio-economic patterns and cultural aspects of parental leave take-up by young parents under 30 years of age, as well as the consequences of these patterns for gender equality in the labour market and in family life. The project will indicate risks of marginalisation of young mothers and fathers, and map how parental leave policies in the various countries are addressing the situation.

An overview report will be produced with research findings and statistics from each country. The results will be disseminated in a seminar. Youth and student NGOs are invited to participate in the gathering of information for the report, as well as in the discussion of the results in the seminar.

Based on the findings of the overview, a research article will be prepared to be published in a scientific journal. 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 will provide 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.

Nordic conference on gender equality and diversity within the Fire and Rescue Service

More and more fire and rescue services within the Nordic countries need to recruit part time and volunteer firefighters and respond to an increasing diverse population. However, the fire and rescue service is still a primarily male dominated place of work, with very few women or ethnic minorities represented.

To respond to the above-mentioned challenges, we wanted to offer the first Nordic conference on how to promote gender equality, diversity and social inclusion within the fire and rescue service to create a sustainable recruitment base and diverse workforce, which corresponds to, and reflects, the local community demands.

The conference took place in Malmö, Sweden, in November 2018.

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

Gender equal parenting – equal work life

The uneven distribution of women’s and men’s paid and unpaid work is one explanation for inequality in working life, and in society at large. Parental insurance is crucial to women’s wage levels, but as long as women take a greater responsibility for children, equality in the working life cannot be achieved.

This project researches the systems for parental insurance in the Nordic countries to see how they affect women’s work and men’s withdrawal of parental benefit. The results are compiled in a report where suggestions were given on how the systems can be improved to increase equality. The results were presented to Nordic decision makers at a launch in Stockholm and disseminated through campaign work in Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

The project wants to influence decision-makers in the Nordic countries to drive the development forward in terms of equal parenting, and to help achieve the goals of equal opportunities for care, power and influence for women and men in the Nordic countries.

Updated 21 April 2020