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Threats and Hate in Societal Debate

Threats and hate directed at people who are working on or otherwise contributing towards democratic debate are a major problem of our age.

The emergence of social media has increased opportunities to engage in and interact with others involved in public debate. This has also led to a higher risk of becoming the victim of threats and hate.

The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research is working to survey and analyse the prevalence of, causes of and consequences of hate and threats made towards those who work in higher education. The aim is to improve preventive efforts and provide greater support for those exposed to hate and threats. This work is being carried out in partnership with actors in the higher education sector and in dialogue with actors from associated sectors.

In 2020, the secretariat is conducting a national survey of researchers and lecturers at Swedish universities and higher education institutions to ascertain the prevalence of threats and hate. The survey is being run jointly with the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, SUHF, and the Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers, SULF. The study will explore how many people have experienced threats and hate and why, and the consequences this has had for victims. The survey is being developed in dialogue with the research community and with actors who have carried out similar surveys in associated occupational groups.

The secretariat is also working to raise the problem on the higher education and research policy agenda, partly through ongoing dialogue with agencies and ministries involved and by participating in panels and conferences.