Preparations for the creation of the Centre for Research on Women (SKK), as it was first known, began during the autumn of 1986 and spring 1987, when a few students and researchers were assigned to work there.
The Centre’s initial mandate was to spearhead research on women and on gender issues at UiO, and to ensure that such perspectives were included in all academic disciplines at the University.
Building up the Centre & Professional Leadership
In autumn 1986, the Centre was formerly established for an initial four-year trial period (until the end of December 1990). Fride Eeg-Henriksen was appointed as the Centre’s Administrative Coordinator in May 1987 and Elisabeth Gulbrandsen was Research Coordinator, until Karin Widerberg was appointed Research Director in February 1988. Between 1991 and April 1993, the Centre’s Directors were appointed for short-term periods, and included: Torill Steinfeld, Drude von der Fehr and Brit Berggreen. Harriet Bjerrum Nielsen was Director from September 1993 until December 2009; during her sabbaticals (2000-2005), she was replaced by Beatrice Halsaa and Elisabet Rogg, respectively. Jorunn Økland was Director of the Centre January 2010-Desember 2013. Professor Beatrice Halsaa is Director of the Centre in 2014.
The Centre’s name was changed from ‘Centre for Research on Women’ to ‘Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies in 2001, after a long online debate and response process. A new open invitation to debate the Centre’s name was issued in 2007, but this time without responses. The Centre’s Board of Directors took a final decision at the board meeting of May 23, 2007, and the name was changed to ‘Centre for Gender Research’, with effect from January 2008.
STK first rented premises at Ullevålsveien 105, but moved to Sognsveien, 70 in 1993, and shared office space with the Nordic Institute for Gender Research (NIKK – formerly the Nordic Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies). Both units moved to their current joint premises at Gaustadalléen 30D in 2009.
Position within the University
The Centre was evaluated in 1991, 1996 and 2007; after the second evaluation, the University of Oslo’s Board of Directors decided that the Centre could continue indefinitely as a stand-alone unit within the University. The 2007 evaluation included consideration of whether STK should be re-positioned within one of the faculties at UiO. However, it was decided then, and confirmed by the UiO Board in 2008, that the Centre should maintain its stand-alone position within the University.
The Centre started to offer taught courses in 1999 and established a bachelor degree in ‘Gender, Feminism and Gender Equality’ in 2003; the name of this bachelor program was changed to ‘BA in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies’ in 2007. The Centre’s MA in Gender Studies was launched in autumn 2011.