Are really Norse countries a paradise in gender equality?

Are Really Norse Countries a paradise in gender equality? It is not so clear when it comes to academics a new report says.

A new report from the Committee for Gender Balance in Research (NIF Committee), by the hand of Solveig Bergman ( researcher at the Norwewian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies),describes in a new report the relations between strategies and measures and the gender balance in academia in nordic countries , as if this could represent a step closer to gender equality ideal.

“The Nordic region excels in one area only – that is, the leadership of the national research councils and the institutional leadership in academia. And this is mainly due to quota provisions!”

If needed, the full report “The Nordic region – a step closer to gender balance in research?” is available as free download into both english and Svenka languages, on the following link:  http://www.norden.org/en/publications/publikationer/2013-544

Its author states that “The Nordic countries have more women rectors and more women on the boards of the national research councils compared with other European countries,” “The topic of gender balance in academia often falls between two stools – research and gender equality. For us it’s important that politicians and bureaucrats from both sectors are the report’s main target groups,”

The report shows that Norway and Sweden are the clearly best in implementing gender equality measures in academia, but Finland is the Nordic region with the most women in highter research position. “Also, in a historic perspective Norway and Sweden have had a more positive attitude towards quotas and other women-specific measures than Finland. Despite this, Finland has long had the highest percentage of women professors in the Nordic region.”

Kilden on its webpage notes that   “gender equity in academics” became a more diverse  and complex as considered as a multifactorial object of analysis, when the report brings some research policy reforms including new topics that open the quantitative distribution of position,  in gender equality in academics to structural factors such as new trends, like autonomy, excellence iniciatives, internalionalisation or innovation.

Doubts on the topic of norse equality came accross related to these structural factors, in whose Europe, we can learn some european countries, has a longer tradition of discussing these structural factors and difficulties related to gender equity in research policy. “One of the main points in the report is that the joint Nordic research and gender equality policy under the Nordic Council of Ministers has not addressed these issues – something that the EU has done.” “Take the centres of excellence, for example. These centres are given high priority within the EU and the Nordic region, but they have a lower percentage of women than in academia at large. Why is this?” Bergman asks.

According to the report, there are some hierarchies erlated to academics that also influence in gender issue, and those should be discussed in the Norse countries. Natural sciences are idealised in research:

” A high read mark had been made by Bergman who notes that gender equality and gender balance aren´t not only about women and men, but also deals with subjects, academic hierarchies, scientific content and priorities. “What happens with the interpretive humanities and social sciences in a research world with excellence initiatives where the natural sciences are held up as the ideal?”.

A highlight has to be made, as it has been vaguely said adove, that the  lacking of the cualitative aspects in social studies data can´t be really representative. By the hand of Susanne Moore : ” Problem is, Gender does not equal diversity.  Gender is a discussion about our constructed gendered roles and how those roles play out in society.  It is also about the way we see ourselves through our gendered lens of expectation.  Diversity is about the recognition of difference and how we value and respect that difference.  Organisational diversity is about leveraging that difference to improve business performance and business reach into new markets and new customers.”

”  Gender does not equal diversity either, its just that the major need for diversity programs is because women have not had the same access to work environments and opportunities as men.  In a truly diverse environment, gender balance is only one component and these components will differ from environment to environment.  To me, diversity is about the acceptance of difference, and with that acceptance comes an ability to embed equality, flexibility, adaptability and resilience.”

This can´t be more true!!

Acknowledges, sources and our most sincere thanks to:

http://www.norden.org/en/publications/publikationer/2013-544

http://eng.kilden.forskningsradet.no/c52778/nyhet/vis.html?tid=85260

http://www.nikk.no/en/news/the-nordic-region-a-gender-equality-paradise-2/

http://susannemoore.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/gender-equals-diversity-diversity-equals-flexibility-flexibility-equals-women-equality-equals-diversity-diversity-equals-flexibility/

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