Team-building – the often forgotten key to unlocking optimal productivity

moomiIT has been a year since we started our 5-year Nordforsk funded project – The Nordic Center of Excellence – Beyond the Gender Paradox in Nordic countries. We have had multiple virtual meetings along the way but just a couple of F2F workshops. Since our F2F workshops occur atleast twice a year in rotation between the three primary partner countries (Norway, Finland and Sweden), they are usually highly anticipated, engaging and empowering. We get to meet each other, discuss very interesting research progress, eat good food, strategize for wayforward – all in a limited space of time.

This year, something extra happened. To spice up the year’s first F2F workshop, the hosts from University of Tampere organised the most secretive, highly anticipated team-building activity. In preparation for the trip, we were told to ‘bring comfortable walking shoes and a jacket that tolerates a light breeze or rain’ 🙂 Anticipation was rife among members and our repeated inquiries for details were met with adamant and ever-so-gentle rebuffs.

So, on D-day, day 2, after taking care of the day’s business – the 2-hour team building activities begun. We were split in 3 groups, each consisting of members from the different countries, the hosts were our guides. These are highlights from the activities: Continue reading

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The symbolism and functionality of networks for/on women in academia and research, in peripherial regions!


Be a rebel. Be a role model.

It was a short, cozy and massively inspirational HVL organized, women’s network meeting today.

The Challenge: the leaking pipeline (i.e. fewer women are to be found especially in the higher echelons of academia and research). (The reasons for this are as multiple as they are complex – for another blog post).

The Goal: to mobilize, inform, inspire and challenge female academics and researchers in the region through shared experiences. So, today, 4 fantastically accomplished academics in the region spoke to a room full of us. The message was simple, functional but also symbolic. Here is a summary of what i got from it. Continue reading

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Gendering Research: In teams, perspectives and impact

This gallery contains 3 photos.

  Gender-balanced teams (as our team at WNRI shows) are mandated in Research Council and EU Directives on gender equality in research and innovation. Picture credit: Anna Maria Urbaniak-Brekke Today, I lead a seminar on: ‘Gendering Research: Teams, Processes, Perspectives … Continue reading

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#CENS18: Women’s tech-driven careers in rural areas – results trickling in!

This year’s Conference theme was: Narratives of uniformity and diversity (#CENS2018). The backdrop for the conference lies in the fact that Nordic countries have a recognized place on the global scene. Continuously at the top in rankings in quality of life and a whole range of other surveys and a steady reputation as stable and prosperous societies form a main content in the perception of the Nordic. There is a global demand for knowledge about the Nordic societies. Whether it concerns the economics of the tripartite model or the politics of gender equality, welfare technologies, penal and other kinds of humanitarianism and Nordic cooperation, or the cultural innovations of New Nordic design, researchers and policymakers from across the globe see the Nordic region as a dynamic research object with ideas worth probing.
Carol Azungi Dralega presented the papers in the session on: “Women in the Nordic Labour Market” (presented on Women’s day) sharing some findings beginning to trickle in from the Nordic Centre of Excellence project ‘Beyond the gender paradox – women’s tech-driven careers in and outside academe’ funded by Nordforsk. The presentations offer insights into women’s tech-driven career trajectories and histories within the fields of research, innovation and the media. The focus is rural and sparsely populated region of Sogn og Fjordane.




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«Du må ikke tåle så inderlig vel, den urett som ikke rammer deg selv»

Hei alle sammen
Mitt navn er Carol Azungi Dralega. Jeg er opprinnelig fra Uganda, og jeg har bodd her i Sogndal i 8 år sammen med familien min (Anders, Aleni og Amani – som forresten har bursdag i dag). Jeg ønsker å takke dere for å markere denne viktige dagen. Jeg vil også takke for muligheten jeg har fått til å holde denne appellen. Continue reading

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Women in Politics: Is the media neglecting its fundamental duty


Women’s equal participation in decision making is not only a demand for simple justice or democracy but can also be seen as a necessary condition for women’s interests to be taken into account. Achieving the goal of equal participation of women and men in decision making will provide a balance that more accurately reflects the composition of society and is needed in order to strenghten democracy and promote its proper functioning’ Beijing Platform for Action.

Experience tells us that the characteristic strain between politicians and the media is both necessary and useful to sustain their respective functions. However, research shows that, when it comes to gender representations, different ethical standards are applied to women and men politicians. Men are most often judged by their performance and competence while women by their looks, ability to juggle work and family and in their roles as model mothers. Often women’s private lives find their way into the public sphere in a way that does not happen to male politicians. According to the Uganda Media Women’s Association, Gender Links and other gender watchers, female policitians’ fear for unfair treatment by the media ranks prominantely among the reasons that prevent them from joining politics or even being sources for news items relevant to them and their work.

This treatment relates to the symbolic annihilation of women generally, by the media, which happens through the silencing of their voices, absense in public discourses and repression in the private sphere.  A recent assessment I had my MA Journalism class do, was indicative of  just that – women are reduced to objects of beauty or victims of violence a theme over represented by women. As sources, they were scarcely  consulted even in stories that obviously required their say. This pattern was the same with pictures and cartoons. We also found similar patterns with headlines and captions and in media texts. This mis/under representition portrays an incomplete picture of the enormous and diverse roles and contribution women make in society.

Very few women are able to stand up to the media – a case in mind, is that of Uganda’s Princess Elisabeth of Toro Kingdom – who was also a lawyer, diplomat, a Minister, an actress and model. On rejecting the then President Idi Amin’s advances for marriage, she was unceremoniously dropped as Minister and accused of indecent behavious in a Parisan airport. The national and International media took up the story and run it without corroborating it. She later successfully sued Uganda, English, German and Italian newspapers for this malicious and wrong potrayal.

Unlike a few women like the Princess, many women in politics (let alone other spheres) do not know their rights, lack the financial muscle and legal knowledge to takle the ‘goliath’ of the media end.

Already marginalised and on an unlevel terrain (given the early socialization to subbodinate positions) they become double victims by the media. This has to stop.

The media ought to recognise that equal media treatment is essential to democracy. Repurcussions of women’s measley presence  and mis/under representation in democratic processes is detrimental to the overall betterment of a society. A development or democratic agenda without the voices and input of half its population is no democratic processes at all. Countries and the media especially in Africa need to be held accountable to their pledges (i.e. to CEDAW; Beijing Platform of Action; UNSCR1325) to increase women’s participation in decision making processes to the basic Critical Mass of 33% in all areas of governance.



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Gender bending, rule bending and many more bends – contesting hegemonic masculinities in video games


Robin Ek Picture: a female kratos, sure why not?

In the recent years, video games are sneaking out of the ‘ghetto’ and into the mainstream of popular culture and every-day lives of many people especially youth. But, you know what? Video games are still very much a male dominated arena. Accross the globe, and surprisingly enough, even in Norway, video gaming along with technology education and work are strongly male dominated (My colleague Hilde has published extensively on this). The established fact is that, video gaming is associated with young, white males and usually, girls and women’s positive relationship to gaming is often overlooked, because of perceptions that they either are absent or have little interest in playing computer games. Such cultural assumptions give rise to low expectations of girls’ interest in computer games, and at the same time the effect that girls can undermine or even hide their interest in computer. So, what then with immigrant girls – and boys? How is gender constructed and manifested through and about video games? Our study on immigrant youth video game habits sought to fill the knowledge gap, in trying to gain insights into gaming habits of immigrant boys and girls in Norway – there is already a lot of research on Norwegian youth. We decided to approach the study from an intersectionality perspective and the focus on gender became quite significant in this study. We wanted to tackle and understand the challenges of hegemony, power, inclusion and exclusion when it comes to ‘women’ or girls, and technology but most importantly in video gaming culture. Gender bending happens all the time in video games (sometimes with dire consequences), but what other bends can we find when we study the gaming habits of immigrant youth in Norway. Some fascinating findings can be found in the report on


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