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LOFU 2024: Survey on Sexual Harassment and the Significance of the Work Environment

Survey on sexual harassment among members in the private sector in some of LO's unions. The survey aims to map the extent of sexual harassment and the significance disparities in the work environment may have, now well over six years after the #MeToo campaign.

In the aftermath of the #MeToo campaign and the 2016/2017 survey, there was significant attention drawn to workplace sexual harassment, leading to various measures being taken to counter such incidents across different industries, including the hotel and restaurant industry.

However, subsequent surveys from various sectors indicate that sexual harassment remains a significant workplace issue, with young women in male-dominated industries being particularly vulnerable – for example, in the military and fishing industries.

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) has been focused on investigating the significance of the work environment for sexual harassment and concluded in a 2018 survey that women in male-dominated industries are more frequently subjected to sexual harassment by colleagues compared to women in female-dominated professions and industries, and that women in low-status occupations are the most vulnerable (Bergold, 2018).

Often, it is not about isolated incidents but recurring events that create a pattern, and in parts of the labor market, sexual harassment can be a structural workplace issue (p. 27).

The report from the Swedish LO highlights, among other things, that there may be unclear boundaries between gender-loaded language, jokes, or sexualizing comments, and a harassing conversational culture in the workplace.

As mentioned earlier, the boundaries between rough work banter and sexual harassment can often be very unclear. Based on this, we propose a survey where sexual harassment is more contextualized and linked to characteristics of the work environment in selected industries/occupations in the private sector in Norway.

By work environment, we understand both the gender balance, the norms and attitudes related to gender and sexual harassment, the attention the employer pays to sexual harassment as an issue, etc.

Key questions will include:

  • To what extent do members of the relevant unions experience sexual harassment in the workplace?
  • How can this be related to different work environments? And are women in male-dominated professions and workplaces particularly vulnerable?
  • What are the consequences for individuals who experience sexual harassment in the workplace?
  • What is the status of employers' work on sexual harassment as a workplace issue in 2024?
  • What role do union representatives and the safety apparatus (VO and AMU) play in the preventive and damage-limiting work against sexual harassment?


Project period

  • Start:
    March 2024
  • End:
    May 2025

Commissioned by

  • LO FU 2024

Sustainable development goals