And now for something completely different…

Publishing is one of those things many academics do as part of their daily job, but the details and mechanics of it – beyond the question of where and/or with which publisher one publishes – are often not discussed. The question of indexing one’s volume (an issue for those in disciplines where publishing books is part of the norm), for example, raises its head at the end of a long process when one’s work has gone into production. For a long time it has been common to ask authors if they want to index their own work, or have it done professionally (set off against any royalties, which are mostly negligible). Indexing can be time-consuming so the latter option often seems sensible.

Closeup of antique books educational, academic and literary concept

However, for the first time I have just encountered a serious academic press, Manchester University Press, stating that it is no longer providing indexing services. Now authors has to secure such services which typically apparently cost £350-£500, themselves. So, not only do authors do all their work for the publishers (the researching, writing and preparing of the book) themselves in advance and without remuneration (their ‘research’ time usually not covering that activity, however vital it is for the ranking of their institution); they now also have to organize, and pay out of their own pockets (or via their institutions) for, indexing. One wonders what book publishers actually do . . . Authors, beware!

Gabriele Griffin

Gender Equality in Research and Innovation: A Brilliant High-Level Seminar

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Seminar on gender equality in research and innovation. Photo: TANE

On 18 September Marja Vehviläinen from Tampere University and her team there, together with Hannele Varsa of TANE, the Finnish Council for Gender Equality, hosted a high-level seminar involving representatives from the Finnish regions, from Nordic national innovation and research funders, and from NGOs in debates about gender equality in research and innovation. The event was part of the work conducted by Nordwit, our Nordforsk-funded Centre of Excellence looking at women in technology-driven careers.

The seminar highlighted prominently the different ways in which policy makers within the Nordic countries but also beyond seek to address gender imbalances in research and innovation, from the very structured process-oriented view of the Swedish funder Vinnova to a more diversity-oriented approach by Business Finland. Regional difficulties were made apparent in debates that indicated how European structural funds favour male-dominated industries with the effect that female-dominated ones that are equally necessary in the regions such as care and social work are not supported through those funds. Innovation is thus often already gendered through the very policies that are intended to encourage economic change. The entanglement of economic with social change remains a fraught phenomenon – more research, please!

Gabriele Griffin

Where the young women go…

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On 18 September a major conference on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation was held at the Music Centre in Helsinki. The afternoon was devoted to questions of research and innovation in different Finnish regions whilst the morning was devoted to Nordic and European perspectives from the position of funders, policy makers, ministries etc. Discussion about the regions threw up some interesting issues including, for example, the problem that European structural funds tend to favour male-dominated professions (forestry, industry) but cannot be used for the female-dominated ones such as carework etc. In consequence there are significant labour shortages in those areas in some Finnish regions. What is more a study on a small town into which a significant car manufacturer was introduced showed that whilst this created 4000+ jobs, not least for young men, there was no equivalent for women, with a dramatic result on the demographics of this place where young men were very dissatisfied with their life situation because, if heterosexual, they could not find partners. Food for thought! Economically driven innovation needs to be matched by considerations of their social and cultural impacts – young women (also) go where they can find work and life opportunities, and one without the other is clearly not enough.

Gabriele Griffin

Come and discuss with us how to go beyond the gender binary!

Stream14In gender studies we often struggle with the question of how to study gender without reinforcing gender binary, how to undo the stereotypical understanding of women and men, or femininities and masculinities. On the one hand, in the studies of gender and working life, we need the statistics that show for example the number of women and men in different hierarchical professional positions or the pay gap between women and men. Though the questionnaires behind the statistics more and more include the possibility to choose more than two genders or to un-choose gender completely, the statistically relevant genders remain women and men. These statistics are of course important when we want to study and discuss the structural inequalities in working life.

In Nordwit, the focus on gender is mainly on how our study participants experience gender in their everyday (working) life. With our qualitative materials, we can interpret how gender is done in the interviews and workshops, like which themes does gender entangle with and how. However, to understand and develop the methodology of how to study and make visible how gender is undone or not going on, or how is it becoming with, in empirical projects, is still quite challenging. To tackle the issue, we are organizing a stream called “Beyond the gender binary: Empirical research and conceptual developments in times of transformation” in next year’s Gender, Work and Organization Conference at the University of Kent.

In our stream, we consider, for example: is it possible to empirically show that undoing and not doing is what is happening at a certain moment and in a certain place without either reifying old gender binary thinking or downplaying and overlooking the post-feminist rhetorics of equality and individual agency? What are the respective implications for sampling, research design, and data analysis? While established methods of data collection such as interviews, documents, visual analyses and observations are suitable for reconstructing happenings, doings and sayings, those methodological reflections are still under development that aim at reconstructing something that is being avoided, not talked about, forgotten or even set aside.

We are eagerly looking forward to this upcoming discussion next June. We invite you to join us with your theoretical, methodological and empirical reflections of researching doings and undoings of gender as well as other doings of differences.
The deadline for the abstract submission is 1st November 2019.
You can find more information about our stream here and about the conference here.

Stream Convenors:
Ursula Offenberger
Julia Nentwich
Almut Peukert
Tiina Suopajärvi

Organising a gender equality seminar as an intern for Nordwit

By Liekki Valaskivi 

shakeI originally approached Marja Vehviläinen, who at the time was one of my teachers, to ask her about the practicalities of the internship that is a part of my master’s degree. To my delight, she invited me to work with Nordwit as an intern and help the Tampere research team organise a seminar about gender equality in research and innovation, in collaboration with the Council for Gender Equality at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, to be held in September 2019. My duties as an intern have chiefly consisted of building the seminar website, as well as communicating about the seminar on social media and via email, trying to reach as many people as possible who might have an interest in or a need for attending the seminar.
Continue reading “Organising a gender equality seminar as an intern for Nordwit”

Researching gender and work in rural areas?

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Are you researching gender and work in rural areas? We invite contributions to the GWO2020 stream: “Rural Frontiers In-between Tradition and Change: Gender, work and organization in rural contexts“.

One of the Nordwit pillars is women’s careers with technology in rural areas. It is a natural area for a Nordic centre, with vast sparsely populated areas in all three Nordwit countries. However, ‘rural’ does not necessarily mean the Nordic forests, but is used rather as a term in contrast to ‘urban’ in many societies. The rural – urban divide is a familiar phenomenon in several countries.

Even if most highly educated people create their careers in cities, it is problematic if an urban environment becomes the invisible norm for people doing highly qualified work. In Nordwit we have found that quite a number of highly educated women purposedly look for jobs in rural areas, or if they happen to get a job there, find that they actually enjoy the environment and do not long for an urban lifestyle. From our interviewees we have heard of both advantages – such as social cohesion, short transports, small schools, visibility – and disadvantages – such as social control, lack of alternative employers, long transports, fewer cultural and educational choices – concerning living in rural areas. When starting to analyse them, we have found out that not much is written about gender, work and rurality, compared to the vast body of research on women’s (and men’s) careers in environments which obviously are urban, even if that often is not accounted for.

Hence, we hope to encourage researchers doing work on gender, work and rurality to join the stream “Rural Frontiers In-between Tradition and Change: Gender, work and organization in rural contexts“ next year in the Gender, Work and Organization Conference, in Canterbury, 24.-26. June. The conference page is, this far, only on Facebook: facebook.com/GWO2020/. The call to the stream on gender, work and rurality can also be found here.

We are excited about the possibility of extensive learning about different aspects on gender and work in different kinds of rural areas. We hope that this stream can create new contacts and vitalise research in this area bringing forward aspects of gendered work and gendered life that are less relevant and visible in research done only in urban areas.

Stream Convenors:
Hilde G. Corneliussen
Radhika Gajjala
Minna Salminen-Karlsson

Women working with technology in rural Norway: Experiences of rurality as a double-edged sword

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Photo by sergio souza from Pexels

Author: Carol Azungi Dralega (NLA University College)

It was a tall order, an academic exercise aimed at exploring a phantom. Tickling our curiosity were concerns whether indeed women, highly educated, pursuing tech-driven careers in academia, research, innovation and media industries were to be found in the rural and peripheral spaces of Sogn og Fjordane in Norway. What were the driving factors in their career trajectories; what opportunities were available to them and what bottlenecks stood in their paths?

Continue reading “Women working with technology in rural Norway: Experiences of rurality as a double-edged sword”