Contact person:
Mika Hagerlid
  • People Places and Prevention
  • The Crafoord Foundation
Responsible at Malmö University:
Charlotta Löfgren-Mårtenson
Project members:
Time frame:
01 December 2020 - 01 December 2021
Research environment :
Research subject:

About the project

In connection with #MeToo in 2017, sexual harassment at work attracted worldwide attention. There is still a lack of detailed knowledge, however, even though international research shows widespread experience. Pronounced status hierarchies, job insecurity, inequitable power and housing conditions, and imbalances between formal and informal power at university are major challenges.

Students and PhD-students may be particularly vulnerable due to power inequalities and relationships of dependency in academic cultures. Of 24,000 Malmö University students, 1,350 are international students, one-third have a non-Swedish background and two-thirds are first-generation academics.


The aim of the pilot project is to study how sexual harassment within the academy is perceived and dealt with by students and PhD-students, and which factors contribute to and prevent the occurrence of harassment in the academy.

Method, sample and analysis

Between 4–6 focus group interviews or individual deep interviews will be conducted with 3–6 participants in each group, based on vignettes and an interview guide:

a) how is sexual harassment described and dealt with

b) in which situations can sexual harassment occur

c) and what factors are described as promoting or inhibiting sexual harassment.

The sample will be recruited among students and PhD-students at Malmö University’s five faculties:

  • The Faculty of Education and society
  • The Faculty of Technology and society
  • The Faculty of Health and society
  • The Faculty of Culture and society and
  • The Faculty of odontology.

Some heterogeneity will be sought regarding e.g. gender, ethnicity, disabilities and sexuality. An intersectional perspective will be used to analyse how different power structures and categories mesh together and influence one another.

Ethical considerations

The project follows the Swedish Research Council’s ethical guidelines on information provision, data use, confidentiality and consent in all phases of the project and will be examined in advance by the Swedish Ethics Review Authority.

Participating researchers

Charlotta Löfgren-Mårtenson has a PhD in social work and works as Professor of Health and Society, specialising in sexology, at the Department of Social Work. She is Research leader, Malmö University, and acting National Research Coordinator for the Research and Collaboration Programme on Gender-Based Violence.

My Lilja has a PhD in criminology and works as a lecturer at the Department of Criminology, Malmö University.