Understanding and Intervening against Sexual Harassment at work (UISH)

Despite increasing Nordic research on sexual harassment, specific knowledge gaps remain. These gaps are especially related to the intersectional dimensions of sexual harassment and marginalised groups’ particular vulnerability to sexual harassment, and the role of bystanders and perpetrators.

The UISH project will study sexual harassment within the police in three Nordic countries.  Despite increasing numbers of women and people with minority backgrounds being trained and educated as police students and employees, the police organisation is a male-dominated profession, with male employees in majority in general, and especially as managers in top decision-making positions.

In order to challenge work environment problems such as sexual harassment, cultural change and active processes of change and preventive work, which includes the whole organisation, are needed. Only when acknowledging the Nordic gender paradox, it is possible to generate knowledge and solutions for a sustainable and inclusive future Nordic working life in general, and in the police in particular.

Drawing on national and international research efforts on sexual harassment, organisational culture, the police and gender and intersecting inequalities, UISH yields a unique mixed-methods investigation into the behaviour and incentives of perpetrators and bystanders, as well the experiences of the harassed, and how to successfully prevent and intervene against sexual harassment.

Three nationally developed work packages in close collaboration with police working life partners will result in directly relevant changes in settings and practices, with expected impact on sexual harassment in the organizations involved. The continuous analysis of all work packages will result in new and critical knowledge that will not only be disseminated to working-life partners in the three Nordic countries, but also stakeholders in the other Nordic countries and internationally. Moreover, UISH will contribute significantly to the scientific knowledge of sexual harassment, filling specific knowledge gaps that will contribute to providing pathways for better understanding how to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in work organisations.