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: 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

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”

Few women find role models in IT

Our article on “Women’s Experience of Role Models in IT” is now published.

Relevant role models are individuals that we can identify with. Our study among women in IT in Norway shows that:

Rolemodels wcMost women identify relevant role models among other women, rather than among men.

Few women identify role models in in fields of information technology.

Many women missed having female role models in IT.

And many found “substitute” role models from other fields, national politics or among networks of female friends.

Female role models are, as one of the women we interviewed said,

“important as a door opener. […] I think that makes things easier. It is not necessary, but it makes things easier.”

You can read the full paper (open access) here, where we present a model of responses reflecting a lack of female role models in IT:

Corneliussen, H. G., Seddighi, G., & Dralega, C. A. (2019). Women’s Experience of Role Models in IT: Landmark women, substitutes, and supporters. In Ø. Helgesen, E. Nesset, G. Mustafa, P. Rice, & R. Glavee-Geo (Eds.), Modeller: Universitetsforlaget. DOI: 10.18261/9788215034393-2019-18.

First and second education – routes to IT competence for women

two women smiling to each other
Photo by on

In our study of women working in technology-driven careers, primarily with IT and digitalization, we have interviewed almost 40 women in Norway. One of our findings show that many women come to work with IT and digitalization via a detour: many of them started with a “gender traditional” education, in humanities, social sciences or healthcare, but then at a later stage changed to IT, or added IT courses to their education. Our findings suggest that this “detour” is related to how girls’ choices and the advices that the young women get from parents, teachers etc., are still to a certain degree guided by gendered stereotypes and seeing IT as a male dominated field. However, when women at a later stage have to relate to IT in working life, also in traditional female dominated fields like health care, they change their view upon IT and what IT represent.

To draw some conclusions from this, first, it is important that girls are introduced early to the wide and varied meanings of IT and digitalization in current working life. Perhaps more girls will choose IT education and find IT related work attractive when it appears in pair with other fields, like ehealth, like we see among the women we have interviewed.

Our study also suggests that continuing education can be an important contribution in providing women with a competence that they to a lesser degree than men acquire through their first educational choices, as women are still a minority among IT students in Norway.

Seminar on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation, 18 Sept 2019

The Nordic countries are often regarded as already gender equal. However, in comparison to gender equality in European research and innovation, we are falling behind. A lack of equality means a loss of resources and diversity in research and innovation. Accordingly, new ways of promoting gender equality are needed in Finland, as well as collaboration between local, national and multi-national actors.

In collaboration with the Council for Gender Equality (TANE), NORDWIT is arranging a seminar on 18 September 2019 in Helsinki on this topic.
Join us in discussing how we can collaborate to promote gender equality in research and innovation!

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We will hear from both researchers and research and innovation policymakers at the seminar. There will be addresses from national financiers of innovation from both Finland and Sweden, as well as a European perspective and a panel discussing the subject on a regional level.

For more information about the seminar, its programme and registration, please visit the website: