8. Sex, Gender and Intersectional Matters

Sex, Gender and Intersectional Matters in Academic Knowledge Production

Convenors: Mervi Heikkinen, University of Oulu

Contact: mervi.heikkinen (at) oulu.fi

Seminar room: TM107 (Parallel session 1); Tellus Horizon (Parallel session 4)

Format: Hybrid

According to the European Commission study 1,8% of all research published between 2013-2018 included content on sex or gender dimension. At a global level, the percentage of publications addressing sex or gender was 1,66% in the same period. These figures reveal that gender responsibility in produced knowledge is still marginal.

Major research funding organisations (RFOs) are increasing the demand for the gender dimension in research, thereby challenging researchers to review their research plans accordingly. Horizon Europe - European Union’s research funding program for the years 2021-2027 has an ambitious €95 billion budget, as well as strengthened provision for gender equality consisting of two measures in research grant applications: 1) a mandatory requirement of a sex and gender analysis of the proposed research project and 2) a gender equality plan of the research host institution as an eligibility criterion. These two requirements focus on gender in relation to the content of the study and the institutional arrangement that both are assumed to have an impact on the quality of the research results e.g. in a form of accuracy and non-discrimination.

The session welcomes papers elaborating e.g. on the current research funding policies aiming to improve gender responsibility of the produced knowledge, and/or the implications of these policies on research practices and processes, and/or practical cases i.e. research projects, that aim to result in scientific excellence in research by implementing sex, gender and intersectional analysis in general, and on the Arctic in particular.


Raihanatul Jannat

Aqleem Fatimah & Atifa Nasir

Mervi Heikkinen

Tiina Suopajärvi

Muneeb Ul Lateef Banday & Anukriti Dixit

Aleida Lujan-Pinelo


Raihanatul Jannat, PhD Candidate at the University of Eastern Finland and Coordinator of the Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law. Email : raihanj@uef.fi

The role of transnational law in enhancing socioeconomic resilience of rural women from the Finnish Arctic

Even though climate change is non-discriminatory in nature, rural women as a group are discriminatorily affected due to existing patriarchal structures in societies and women’s lesser social, economic and political standings in comparison to men. In the Finnish Arctic, economic transformation accelerated by climate change has a biased focus on male-dominated economic sectors and this triggers inadequate gender-responsiveness and an out-migration of rural women.

However, through enhancing resilience of rural women, they can actively participate, plan and implement effective adaptation to climate change. My PhD study uses a feminist legal theory method and explores the role transnational law can play in enhancing socioeconomic resilience of rural women in the Finnish Arctic and Bangladesh through climate adaptation. These two regions have been chosen to conduct a comparative analysis and uncover cross-jurisdictional learning. My presentation will be on one part of my PhD that focuses on the Finnish Arctic region.

Effective adaptation measures that address climate impacts of rural women require integration of gender equality at all levels while being multi-scalar and multi-jurisdictional. Transnational law can play a key role by acting as a vehicle to implement gender-based adaptation strategies, and make use of its multi-level structure to establish linkages between factors and fill in the governance gaps.

Aqleem Fatimah, ALLAMA IQBAL OPEN UNIVERSITY, ISLAMABAD, aqleem.kazmi@aiou.edu.pk

Atifa Nasir, atifa.nasir@aiou.edu.pk

Presentation online // Presentation face-to-face at the University of Oulu

Redefining Masculinities: Gender Role Sharing as a Feminist Intervention

In recent times, more women are into jobs and professions. Because of this move, post-marital issues have risen high all over the world. To address this issue, United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development focused on redefining familial masculinities by promoting a gender role-sharing approach. This approach has been discussed and highlighted in national and international policy documents calling for men to share roles with their partners. Media is one of the knowledge and discourse production institutions that is playing its role in the dissemination of this approach through advertisements. This paper relies on the media advertisements (Urdu and Hindi) that are promoting a gender role-sharing approach on social/digital platforms by employing feminist critical discourse analysis as an analytical framework. It does so to highlight how the gender role sharing approach is a feminist intervention that could redress/resist the hegemonic masculinities related to gender role division, and how voicing new redefined forms of masculinities could promote a more gender-equal and sustainable world.

Mervi Heikkinen, University of Oulu

Mandatory integration of the gender dimension into research and innovation content, by default unless it is duly justified that sex and/or gender aspects are not relevant

Gender-responsible scientific approaches have become imperative in scientific knowledge production as major research funding organisations are requiring analyses of the gender dimension in research projects, research data and publications, challenging researchers to assess their research plans according EC quote in the title. It has been long acknowledged that gender equality is a key driver for social, environmental, economic development and promotion of the development of new ideas, patents and technology.

Gender Impact Assessment (GIA) is an approach aiming to guide researchers to include sex and gender dimensions in the research content. The purpose is to support ethically sound research process resulting high-quality research results, gender-responsible innovations and to improve equality and quality of the knowledge produced.

How do these demands from RFOs, researchers’ varied realities, knowledge users’ needs and RPOs policies translate in research plans, research practices, produced knowledge in the Arctic? What are the relations with these demands with feminist research practices, feminist epistemologies, feminist methodologies and feminist intellectual activism, if there are any?

KEYWORDS: epistemologies, ethics, feminist, methodologies, sex and/or gender dimension

Tiina Suopajärvi, University of Turku, tiina.suopajarvi@utu.fi

Presentation face-to-face at the University of Oulu

The (embodied) matter of affect in Zoom encounters

During the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, we organized online meetings in Zoom for researchers to share their experiences and emotions on their work. We called these meetings Affect cafés, and they were based on the world café method where participants discuss in the same small group throughout the meeting but the facilitators move from one group to another (Lorenzetti et al., 2016). Each of us facilitators had an assigned theme: research strategies, especially, how they affect researchers’ work; emotions in researchers’ work and their effects; and everyday life of a researcher, and what it ideally would be. The open invitation to our cafés attracted altogether 22 participants from social sciences and humanities: seven doctoral students, ten postdoctoral researchers, and five senior researchers/professors. All except one of the participants were women, five worked with permanent and seven with temporary contracts, and nine worked with a scholarship of research foundation or without funding. Each café was open for 1,5–2 hours and they were video recorded. Encountering each other in Zoom differs from the traditional ethnographic fieldwork, since though sitting in front of a laptop, looking and listening to other participants is surely a corporeal experience, they might leave different kinds of impressions on us, and this way have an impact on the ways we analyse affective circulations and their meanings (Ahmed 2014). By following Sara Ahmed (2014, 208), I understand emotions as involving “bodily processes of affecting and being affected (…) emotions are a matter of how we come into contact with objects and others.” In my presentation, I will discuss how the bodies become an affective materiality in the study of researchers’ everyday experiences in academia. I especially ask, how the narrations and the online/offline bodies become entangled in the analysis, and what kind of socio-material knowing on affects does this generate.

Muneeb Ul Lateef Banday, Goa Institute of Management, muneeb.lateef@gmail.com

Anukriti Dixit, University of Bern, anukriti.dixit@izfg.unibe.ch

Presentation face-to-face at the University of Oulu

Problematizing 'digital gender gap': A feminist decolonial analysis of knowledge production on digital economy and gender

In this article, we aim to analyze the policy proposals aimed at addressing the 'gender gap' in the 'digital' economy. These policies are disseminated through various global multilateral organizations including World Economic Forum, World Bank, UN Women and OECD, among others. We problematize the notion of the 'gender gap' and the 'solutions' offered to include more women in the digital economy. Problematization involves analyzing the underlying discourses and knowledge claims through which a particular policy problem is constituted (Bacchi, 2009).

Through our analysis, we illustrate how these policies are shaped by inadequate attention to locally situated gender order(s), west-centric assumptions of enterprising, masculine subjects (Oksala, 2013) and the notion of developmentalism and modernity (Mignolo, 2011). These policies, therefore, produce 'women' of the third world (or the global south) as ‘backward’ and non-digital workers due to assumptions regarding the extent of ‘development’, indicator-based measurement and fixed definitions of ‘empowerment’ (Sharma, 2008). Through access to (digital) resources, ‘empowerment’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ are seen as the appropriate solutions to bring these women into the digital economy and address the prevailing 'gender gap'. Issues of situated forms of power, women’s existing control over local forms of patriarchies, and agentic involvement of women in ‘non-economic’ activities are ignored (Kabeer, 1999).

Further, we analyze the epistemic techniques employed in these reports to (re)produce this colonial neoliberal worldview. In this regard, our analysis reveals that it is through the techniques of statistical scientificity and linear temporality that the global north is positioned as the legitimate producer of scientific knowledge, entrepreneurship and women empowerment. Accordingly, we call for decentering the assumptions of superiority of western knowledge systems through the praxis of 'decoloniality' (Santos, 2014).

Aleida Lujan-Pinelo, University of Turku, alupin@utu.fi

Presentation online // Presentation face-to-face at the University of Oulu

Encounters between Epistemologies of the South and New Feminist Materialism

New materialism, on the one hand, has been gaining interest in various areas of research beyond the humanities and the science and technology studies. And, on the other hand, there has also been an increase engagement with epistemologies of the South such as decoloniality and post-coloniality in the global North academia. But as these epistemologies spark interest in research, old vicious habits are hunting this tendency. Feminist inputs are, in many cases, cleared out of the mainstream discussions, leaving the political feminist projects at the core of these epistemologies to the margins. Therefore, in this presentation, I introduce the political projects of these epistemologies, pointing out some of their commonalities while, at the same time, showing their differences, exploring liminal spaces in which conversations and creative proposals can and do emerge. Ultimately, this description allows me to offer some thoughts on the question on how to decolonize new materialism; an effort that will always be partial given the current socio-economic structures. I was not able to find a place where I would think my presentation would fit, however, if you find that my presentation indeed fits some of the workshops, I am happy to be be considered in those workshops.