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The Nordic countries are regarded as frontrunners in promoting equality, yet women’s experiences on the ground are in many ways at odds with this rhetoric.
Putting the spotlight on the lived experiences of women working in tech-driven research and innovation areas in the Nordic countries, this volume explores why, despite numerous programmes, women continue to constitute a minority in these sectors.
The contributors flesh out the differences and similarities across different Nordic countries and explore how the shifts in labour market conditions have impacted on women in Research and Innovation.
This is an invaluable contribution to global debates around the mechanisms that maintain gendered structures in Research and Innovation, from academia to biotechnology and IT.
In the Nordic countries, but not just there, women are increasingly living a contradiction, that between a strongly embedded public equality rhetoric and the fact that in emerging, highly technologized work contexts such as ICT and eHealth they constitute a minority despite numerous initiatives set up to increase women’s participation in STEM domains. Why does this continue to be the case? The introduction explores some of the reasons why this continues and sets out the contradictions that govern this state of affairs. It discusses the relation between a fully embedded and highly articulated public equality discourse and one of Nordic exceptionalism in a context where horizontal sex segregation in the labour market, including research and innovation, remains strong. It suggests that the public rhetoric regarding both equality and Nordic exceptionalism makes it difficult to raise dissenting voices, but also, that the persistent gender inequalities in the Nordics vary by country.
This chapter explores the ways in which research and innovation as gendered practices and experiences are precarized in academe (Murgia and Poggio, 2019). Drawing on professional biographical interviews conducted in 2017–18 with 30 women and men working in Digital Humanities, an emerging and innovative field in academe, the chapter analyzes how structural, organizational and professional-practice constraints as well as personal biographies shape the opportunities research and innovation afford individual researchers. In invoking the notion of precarization (Standing, 2011), the chapter is less concerned with the effects of the rise of short-term contracts and similar precarizing employment practices in academe (although these certainly feature) than with the structural and organizational ways in which research and innovation are simultaneously invited and disavowed in organizational structures that are not agile but instead work to reproduce the same.
Despite its reputation as a highly gender-equal country with an exemplary welfare system, Sweden struggles with how to manage the effects of globalizing forces such as forced and voluntary migration. Drawing on Swedish popular culture and in particular two texts by Henning Mankell, as well as the theoretical writings of Arjan Appadurai, this chapter argues that fears both of small and large numbers of migrants structure the Swedish imaginary. Sweden here emerges as an embattled territory where such fears are met with a backlash against migrants that even voices sympathetic to their plight find difficult to contest effectively.
Sweden is often considered one of the most gender-equal countries in the world and held up as a model to follow, but the reality is more complex. This is the first book to explode the myth of Swedish gender equality, both offering a new perspective for an international audience, and suggesting how equality might be rethought more generally.
While the authors argue that the gender-equality mantra in Sweden has led to a society with increased opportunities for some, they also assert that the dominant norm of gender equality has become nationalistic and builds upon heteronormative and racial principles. Examining the changing meanings and parameters of gender equality against the country’s social-democratic tradition and in the light of contemporary neoliberal ideologies, the book constitutes an urgent contribution to the debates about gender-equality policies and politics.
This volume examines the diverse ways in which the myth of Sweden as the most gender-equal country in the world has been challenged both from within and from without. Detailing the appropriation of the gender equality mantra by right-wing political parties, its depoliticisation within neoliberal audit culture, the nationalist underpinnings which accompany this mantra within Sweden, and the impacts this has had on equality policies, this volume argues that the gender equality mantra in Sweden has served to reinforce heteronormative, white, middle-class norms. Racist and other oppressive stances are obscured by a rhetoric of Swedish exceptionalism. In challenging the adequacy of the current Swedish gender equality model, the contributors to this volume call for a re-thinking of political subjectivities, for an understanding of gender equality as a contested terrain, and for the re-framing of equality politics from an intersectional perspective.
The introduction shows how the notion of Sweden as the most gender-equal nation in the world has been reinforced by the close imbrication of gender equality in Swedish state and party politics, as well as by inter/national statistics that produce specific visions of Sweden. We problematize those visions by highlighting six key issues that permeate the contributions to this volume: the nationalist dimensions of Swedish gender equality; its modernist assumptions of steady, linear progress; its implicit normativities; its heteronormative and racist undertones; its appropriation within neoliberalism; and its strained relations to feminism.