The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers rotates yearly between its five member countries. In 2022, Norway has taken over the reins of the Presidency and one of its focuses is issues such as gender equality in working life and the living conditions of older LGBTI* people.
Equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market of the future is one of the objectives of the Nordic Co-Operation Programme on Gender Equality. This priority has resulted in several projects that have focused on working life during the programme period which runs from 2019 to the end of 2022. During 2022, the Norwegian Presidency will hold a conference on gender equality in the workplace for sharing and discussing knowledge and experience in this area. Another focus is the gender-segregated labour market, which is the subject of a project on gender equality in fisheries and mariculture.
The Nordic research initiative on sexual harassment in the workplace will also continue during 2022. This initiative, which is being managed by Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK), has a particular focus on prevention and intervention methods based on industry studies and comparative studies of different industries.
A social problem that is common to all the Nordic countries is mental ill-health. A number of studies show that it is rising, especially among the young and young adults, and that there are gender differences in mental ill-health across all age groups. Previous research has shown that restrictive masculinity norms affect young men’s lives and living conditions, and that there are links between declining school grades among young men as well as changed working conditions and mental ill-health. But more knowledge is needed about what causes the problems and what consequences these factors have from a lifetime perspective. Initiated by the Norwegian Presidency, the Nordic Council of Ministers has therefore commissioned NIKK to produce a Nordic research overview focusing on mental ill-health among young men, which will be published in spring 2023.
Gender norms are one of several factors that have an impact on people’s lifestyles and consumption patterns. This is a conclusion stated by the Nordic Council of Ministers in its vision for a green Nordic region. During 2022, Nordic co-operation on gender equality policy will highlight the link between climate, the environment, and gender equality at a number of events. The gender equality sector will also contribute to the cross-sectoral Sustainable Lifestyles Programme, which will run until 2024. As part of this programme, NIKK will produce a research overview.
In the LGBTI area, questions about the living conditions of older LGBTI people will be prioritised. During the year, a multi-annual effort will begin focusing on their living conditions and quality of life, particularly in relation to their interactions with the healthcare and welfare systems.
NIKK has been commissioned to survey current knowledge in the field in a Nordic research overview by autumn 2023. NIKK will also investigate what knowledge is required for training staff working in healthcare and welfare in the Nordic countries, and what continuing professional development is available, for example in terms of knowledge about person-centred healthcare and welfare, and majority and minority perspectives, in particular focusing on gender identity and sexual orientation. The initiative will be implemented in conjunction with the Health and Social Affairs area of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
* LGBTI is an abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex. This abbreviation is used in the Nordic, and many international, contexts.