Growing interest in gender and gender equality creates new opportunities
2018 will be a special year in the fields of gender and gender equality in Sweden. The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research will celebrate its 20th anniversary and a brand new government agency for gender equality issues will open its doors. ‘These are exciting times. The demand for our services keeps increasing, at the same time as the new agency will assume the overall responsibility for issues related to the national gender equality policy,’ says Maria Grönroos, acting manager of the Secretariat.
Since 1998, the Secretariat has held a government assignment to disseminate knowledge about gender research, in both academia and society in general. This task is accomplished through activities such as news reporting to the public, conference participation and a close dialogue with the research community.
GMGA and GMA to sail under the new agency flag
The Secretariat has in recent years also offered operative support to the participants in the Gender Mainstreaming in Government Agencies (GMGA) and Gender Mainstreaming in Academia (GMA) programmes. The participants in these programmes comprise a large number of Swedish government agencies and higher education institutions that have been commissioned by the government to gender mainstream all their operations. This support function will be transferred to the new gender equality agency, which will open on 1 January 2018.
– GMGA and later GMA helped put the Secretariat on the map for new and very important target groups and have made us a bridge between research and practice. We are seeing that both the understanding for and interest in gender research has increased among gender practitioners, says Lillemor Dahlgren, head of operations for GMGA, and continues:
– It makes good sense to transfer these assignments to the new agency. I think it’s great that a national gender equality agency will finally be opened. It will be a permanent hub for coordination and strategic development of the country’s gender equality work and gender equality policy, which will create entirely new opportunities compared to the temporary project structure in the past. It will also create an even greater need for research-based knowledge in the field, which will reinforce the role of the Secretariat.
The website includegender.org, the English portal for GMGA and GMA, which is currently operated by the Secretariat in cooperation with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), the County Administrative Boards of Sweden, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), and the European Social Fund will also be transferred to the new gender equality agency in 2018.
Several new assignments for the Secretariat
he Secretariat’s core mission, to promote gender research and disseminate research-based knowledge in the fields of gender and gender equality, will not change. The University of Gothenburg’s own commitment to gender mainstreaming, where the Secretariat provides support, will also remain under the Secretariat’s umbrella. The hosting of the Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK), a collaboration under the Nordic Council of Ministers tasked to develop knowledge material for discussions on gender equality policy among the Nordic countries, will also remain the same.
In order to communicate how knowledge about gender can be put into practice at a broader level, a structure for the provision of contract education is also under development at the Secretariat.
– We get a lot of requests for knowledge, trainings, analyses and support from both existing and new actors, so we expect to expand the Secretariat’s operations in the coming years, says Maria Grönroos.
She is also pleased to see that more and more research actors are asking to utilise the Secretariat’s expertise and want to work for change:
– We are a unique actor – nationally and internationally – that can combine research with many years of practical experience of gender equality work. This enables us to effectively support research and research-promoting organisations in their integration of gender and gender equality and their transition from words to action, she says.