Nordic Gender Equality in Transition: Anti-discrimination Laws, Practices and Scholarship Revisited

The Nordic Law and Gender Conference 2019

Northern lights

Photo: Colourbox

Conference theme

The Nordic countries top The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index. The notion of the ‘Nordic Gender Equality Model’ is associated with strong state feminism, and laws and policies that promote substantive equality. This international “brand” is challenged by Nordic scholarship in the field of women, gender and the law, which points to the disjuncture between the right to equality and the gendered realities on the ground. 

However, the analyses of the potential and limits of the equality and anti-discrimination laws in the different Nordic countries remain fragmented and unsystematic. While most Nordic countries have some form of gender equality and anti-discrimination laws in place, their histories, legal and political origins, designs and enforcement systems vary. Furthermore, the Nordic equality and anti-discrimination laws do not exist in a vacuum, but are firmly embedded in the clay of EU law and international human rights law. Moreover, the Nordic anti-discrimination laws and welfare rights are situated in a rapidly changing economic and political context, both nationally and globally. Currently, there is increased pressure from actors that see gender equality and anti-discrimination as an individual and private matter. 

Through keynote presentations and parallel paper sessions, the conference sets out to examine the construction of equality in the equality and anti-discrimination laws in the different Nordic countries. Towards this end, the conference seeks to situate the legal developments in the different Nordic countries in the context of a rapidly changing transnational, legal, social, political and economic landscape. The overall aim is to provide a legal, theoretical and critical basis for debates about past, present and future transformations of Nordic gender equality and anti-discrimination laws.

The Nordic Law and Gender Conference is a biannual event that started out in 2009. 

Preliminary program and call for papers

23rd September: Keynote session

Nordic Equality and Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Throes of Change

Nordic keynote speakers: Eva Maria Svensson and Åsa Gunnarson (Sweden), Kevät Nousiainen (Finland), Brynhildur Flóvenz (Island), Kirsten Ketscher (Denmark), Vibeke Blaker Strand and Anne Hellum (Norway).

International and Nordic commentators: Dagmar Shieck (unconfirmed), Susanne Zwingel, Lena Svenaeus, Niklas Bruun and Cathrine Holst.

The keynote session sets out to explore the following and related questions: How has the interweaving of national, Nordic, European and international norms affected the transformative potential of the Nordic equality and anti-discrimination laws and enforcement systems? How have the Nordic equality and anti-discrimination laws responded to the quest for protection beyond the binary and one-dimensional conception of equality? In what ways have protection against structural discrimination been promoted or undermined? Whether and to what extent are legal mechanisms that facilitate redistribution of power and resources put in place? What kind of equalities, and equality for whom, is the outcome of these processes in the different Nordic countries? These questions will be discussed through invited keynotes from each Nordic country. 

23rd and 24th September: Parallel paper sessions 

Rather than looking at equality and anti-discrimination laws in isolation, the parallel sessions will address encounters and contestations between equality and non-discrimination, and other legal principles in different areas of life and law. The overall aim is to explore the transformative potential of equality and anti-discrimination laws through empirical, dogmatic or critical approaches to different areas of life and law.

Call for papers

Published Jan. 8, 2019 11:24 AM - Last modified Feb. 27, 2019 12:51 PM