University of Gothenburg

Sustainable Conditions in Working Life

The Secretariat is carrying out several assignments related to sustainable conditions in working life. They are performed in collaboration with researchers and experts, within the framework of NIKK, Nordic information for knowledge of gender. NIKK is a co-operation body under the Nordic Council of Ministers, located at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research.

Towards sustainable working life in the Nordic countries

Changing conditions in Nordic countries’ labour markets, including new forms of employment and working conditions, changes in the Nordic model and a greater responsibility for providing care to an ageing population, are impacting, among other things, skills supply needs and the relationship between supply and demand for labour.

Gender segregation within education systems and in the labour market, the gendered division of labour, and the traditionally unequal responsibility for care between genders all make it essential to highlight these issues from the gender dimension.  

NIKK has previously raised these issues, among other things as part of the initiative to shed light on demographic trends in the Nordic countries. This project will be a continuation of this long-term priority, and will result in a knowledge base to be published in autumn 2021. 

Gender-segregated vocational education in the Nordic countries

In order to help break down the gender segregation in vocational education programmes in the Nordic countries, NIKK has gathered knowledge about the problem in a study of the Nordic countries. The study, Vocational education and training in the Nordic countries – Knowledge and interventions to combat gender segregation, provides examples of how efforts to break down gender segregation in this area are being done in the Nordic countries.  The project is an initiative of the Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers from 2020.  

The study gives a general description of how vocational education in the Nordic countries is organised, include an introduction to this area and give examples of how the Nordic countries have been working to break the cycle of gender segregation and retain students who belong to under-represented gender in the Nordic countries. The study also includes a concluding analysis section discussing the results of the survey based on current knowledge in the field.  

The study was published in 2022. 

High-tech working life of the future

The future labour market will be digitalised, robotised and automated, resulting in certain jobs disappearing and a growing demand for employment in the STEM sector (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

In view of the fact that the labour market is divided up by gender and that the proportion of women within this sector is low, this may have long-term implications in terms of gender equality in the Nordic labour market.

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ working life, gender equality, education and research sectors and the Nordic cooperation programme Generation 2030 therefore tasked the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, within the framework of NIKK, to produce a knowledge base. 

A report investigates how the Nordic nations are working to achieve a better gender balance in education and professions, as demanded within the natural sciences and technology, and how this is expected to contribute towards sustainability and gender equality in future labour markets.

Project name: Sustainability and gender equality in the high-tech working life of the future

The assignment resulted in:

  • A Nordic overview of existing research in connection with gender-related study choices within the STEM sector.
  • An inventorying of concrete initiatives within the Nordic region to reduce the gender imbalance within STEM.
  • An analysis of inventoried initiatives.
  • An outlook of how a selection of other countries outside the Nordic region promote a gender balance within STEM.

The full report is written in Swedish and is available for download.

Apply for funding: Nordic Research Funding Initiative on Sexual Harassment at work

Spanning 2021-2023, NIKK is administering a research initiative on sexual harassment in the workplace on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The initiative is especially focused on prevention and methods for intervention through industry studies and comparative studies of different industries.

Violence, harassment and other forms of vulnerability in the workplace are major societal challenges with serious consequences for individuals and workplace organisations. But there are major gaps in our knowledge about methods for preventing and stopping violence and harassment, protecting victims and being proactive in workplace environments. Research and evidence-based knowledge is essential to be able to develop new and effective measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. 

With this background, the Nordic Council of Ministers has decided on a cross-sectoral research initiative jointly with several sectors within the Nordic cooperation. These collaborative sectors are gender equality, culture, working life and the Nordic Committee for Children and Young People. 

The first call opened on April 20 2021, the second call opened in autumn 2021.

Read more about the funding initiative at the NIKK webbsite.

Publications on the subject

Towards a sustainable future world of work in the Nordic countries – The gender perspective on the opportunities and challenges (PDF)
Authors: Young Håkansson, Susanna, Jansson, Ulrika, Sand, Jimmy and Simonsson, Angelica (2022)
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers
Pages: 40
Vocational education and training in the Nordic countries – Knowledge and interventions to combat gender segregation (PDF)
Author: Simonsson, Angelica (2022)
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers
Pages: 55
Accessible online version:
Genusperspektiv på framtidens högteknologiska arbetsliv – en nordisk forskningsöversikt om utbildningsval inom STEM (PDF)
Författare: Jansson, Ulrika och Sand, Jimmy (2021)
Utgivare: Nordiska ministerrådet
Sidor: 176
Tillgänglig version av rapporten:
Preventive work against sexual harassment in Swedish and Nordic working life: a summary (PDF)
Author: Simonsson, Angelica (2020)
Publisher: Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research for Kantar Sifo
Pages: 90
Work related sexual harassment and risk of suicide and suicide attempts: prospective cohort study (PDF)
Authors: Magnusson Hanson, Linda L., Nyberg, Anna, Mittendorfer-Rutz, Ellenor, Bondestam, Fredrik, Madsen and Ida E. H. (2020)
Publisher: Bmj-British Medical Journal. 370
Pages: 8
Sexually harassed at work: An overview of the research in the Nordic countries (PDF)
Author: Svensson, Malin (2020)
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers
Pages: 79
Accessible online version:
Sexual Harassment in the Research and Higher Education Sector (PDF)
Authors: Lundqvist, Maja (2020) in cooperation with the subgroup on Gender Harassment in Academia
Publisher: European Research Area and Innovation Committee, ERAC
Pages: 74
Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. A Systematic Review (PDF)
Authors: Bondestam, Fredrik and Lundqvist, Maja (2020)
Publisher: European Journal of Higher Education. 10:4, s. 397-419
Pages: 24
Ending sexual harassment – a precondition for gender equality (PDF)
Author: Susanna Young Håkansson
Publisher: NIKK, Nordic Information on Gender, 2019
Pages: 12
Efforts to prevent sexual harassment in academia (PDF)
Authors: Maja Lundqvist and Fredrik Bondestam
Publisher: Swedish Council for Higher Education, 2019
Pages: 92
The Nordic Gender Effect at Work. Nordic experiences on parental leave, childcare, flexible work arrangements, leadership and equal opportunities at work (PDF)
Author: Måwe, Ida (2019)
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers
Pages: 56
Sexual harassment in academia. An international research review (PDF)
Authors: Fredrik Bondestam & Maja Lundqvist
Publisher: Swedish Research Council, 2018
Pages: 116
Part-Time Work in the Nordic Region III. An introductory study of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland Islands (PDF)
Author: Hayfield, Erika Anne, Olavson, Rógvi and Patursson, Lív (2016)
Publisher: Nordiska Ministerrådet
Pages: 123
Part-Time Work in the Nordic Region II. A research review on important reasons (PDF)
Authors: Drange, Ida and Egeland, Cathrine (2014)
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers
Pages: 165
Part-Time Work in the Nordic Region I. Part-time work, gender and economic distribution in the Nordic countries (PDF)
Authors: Wennemo Lanninger, Alma and Sundström, Marianne (2014)
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers
Pages: 58