The Swedish Association for Gender Studies elected new board
The Swedish Association for Gender Studies aims to gather the country’s gender researchers and plays an important role in dialogues on the conditions for research. Newly elected Chair Paulina de los Reyes points to the great width and diversity of gender research as an asset in the development of the field.
Paulina de los Reyes, professor of economic history at Stockholm University, is new chair of the Swedish Association for Gender Studies. She stresses the ambition to attend to what is often called the two pillars of gender research: to strengthen both the environments for gender studies at the universities and the role of the gender perspective in other disciplines. Today gender research is conducted not only in the field of gender studies but also in the natural sciences, medicine, social sciences and arts and humanities.
‘The breadth is important for the development of the field. The gender research conducted in the various subjects is much more than just a recruitment base to bring researchers to gender studies. Instead it has contributed to the development of theory and methods across the entire discipline.’
Paulina de los Reyes feels that the understanding of the special character of gender research is insufficient among the funding sources, such as the national research councils. One example supporting this claim is that the Swedish Research Council cancelled its expert group for gender issues in 2013 and now refers interdisciplinary research applications to a subject group under humanities and social science.
‘We see weaknesses in the systems for assessment of gender research. The research councils need to realise that they need to acquire the right competence. The Association for Gender Studies is working actively to increase the awareness that gender research is a scholarly field that requires special knowledge and competence.’
Focus on research policy
One member of the board is Fredrik Bondestam, a sociologist who for example has been in charge of educational research in the excellence programme at the Centre for Gender Research in Uppsala and who currently works as research coordinator at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research.
‘It feels both important and exciting to be elected into the board of the Swedish Association for Gender Studies. I was actually part of starting the Association a long time ago, as a brand new gender researcher. One thing I can do for the Association is advance the positions in several ways when it comes to research policy.’
Representing the Swedish Association for Gender Studies and serving as a research coordinator at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research give Bondestam two different roles, but he is convinced the two actors have the same interests.
‘I want to raise awareness of the breadth of gender research among the actors involved in research funding, in particular of the critical and feminist lines of development in recent years. A lot of work remains in this respect!’
Appetite for knowledge outside academia
The Swedish Association for Gender Studies has grown over the years. Memberships increased in particular in connection with the national gender research conferences g12 and g14, in autumn 2012 and 2014. Paulina de los Reyes takes this to indicate a growing interest in gender research issues in various areas.
‘At the same time we see that it’s a rather diverse field, which is a good thing. Differences in approaches and perspectives make for dynamic research. Right now we’re in a phase characterised by expansion and great diversity in the voices heard.’
Paulina de los Reyes says that issues raised outside academia are important to a critical research field like gender research. It also raises expectations of the Association.
‘There is a great appetite for knowledge outside academia regarding racism, heteronormativity, disabilities and other intersectional perspectives. We want to take advantage of this appetite, seize the opportunity to reflect on how we develop theories and methods. The Association is to serve as a platform for dialogue, not least in relation to research policy.’
Next year, the Swedish government will present a new research bill. The Swedish Association for Gender Studies sees itself as having an important role in dialogues on research policy. In the past, the Association has for example arranged hearings on the role of the research councils and the increased autonomy of the country’s higher education institutions.
Members of the board of the Swedish Association for Gender Studies
• Paulina de los Reyes (chair), professor of economic history, Stockholm University
• Linda Sandberg, researcher at Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS), Umeå University
• Sara Edenheim (alternate member), senior lecturer at Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS), Umeå University
Elected for two years from 2014:
• Lena Martinsson (vice chair), professor of gender studies and reader (docent) in ethnology, University of Gothenburg
• Mathias Ericson, lecturer at the Department of Conservation, University of Gothenburg
• Charlotte Holgersson, reader (docent) in gender, organisation and management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
• Tanja Joelsson, postdoc at the Department of Education, Uppsala University
• Sofia Strid, senior associate lecturer at the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University
• Silje Lundgren, research coordinator at Tema Genus, Linköping University
• Fredrik Bondestam, research coordinator at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research
• Jessika Svensson (alternate member), senior lecturer at the Department of Social Work, Mid Sweden University