Acknowledging Labour

adult-book-brickwalls-7363It is that time of year, at least here in Sweden, when annual reports to funders etc are due – that ‘tissue of lies and fabrications’, as a fellow professor cynically called it on account of the ways in which the forms one has to fill in force one into particular ways of describing what one has done. These forms at times bear little relation to reality, and would benefit from a ‘better fit’ to that reality. I prefer to be less cynical, and to think of it as a way of acknowledging all the labour that has gone into this year. Annual reports provide one with the opportunity to reflect on all the research colleagues and I have done during this period. Researching women in tech-driven careers, as we have done in Nordwit this past year, has provided rich data for analysis from the many interviews we conducted, the working conditions we have observed, and the connections we are making across diverse employment domains. Here shifting work contexts are very clear, as is the fact that this offers opportunities to women to move into areas they do not conventionally inhabit, particularly, in our Centre work, in the rural areas of the Nordic countries where both the need for future-oriented employment and for living different kinds of lives from urban contexts are prominent. Women thrive here – and the odds are not stacked against them in the same way as they sometimes are in densely populated areas within more traditional work environments. As tech-driven becomes the new normal, gender will matter differently from how it has done in the past – that is for sure!

Gabriele Griffin

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