Feminist Mobilisations and Resistances in Civil Society Responses to Covid-19 in the Nordic Countries

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The current crisis precipitated by SARS-CoV-2 is more than a health crisis; it is a human, economic and social crisis, attacking people, societies, and economies at their core. Revealing how deep-rooted gender inequality is, the pandemic has entrenched, expanded, and exacerbated pre-pandemic gendered and intersectional inequalities, from care to violence.  

While research has shown how Europe, and elsewhere, is witnessing a reversal of gender and intersectional equality, with increased levels of gender-based violence, the traditionalization of gender roles and norms, and strengthening of gendered stereotypes, we simultaneously witness new feminist mobilisations and resistances against these in the form of new alliances, coalitions, and campaigns, with the potential for transformation of gender roles.  

The aim of this panel is to bring together the Nordic scholarship on these new feminist mobilisations and resistances as responses to covid-19, and their potential for gender transformation. While the policy responses in to covid-19 have differed greatly across the Nordic countries, we focus on mobilisation and resistances – including feminist activists and actors in civil society as well as within the larger system of governance, e.g., femocrats, academics, social entrepreneurs – aiming to mitigate the unequal and unequalising effects of covid-19 and its policy responses, and the potentials for gender transformation.  

The panel welcomes papers from a variety of inter/disciplinary perspectives engaging questions not just of gender, but also of age, class, race, lgbtqi+ and other intersectional categories, asking e.g.: 

  • What does feminist activism during covid-19 look like?  

  • What feminist mobilisations have taken place in response to the outbreak and its policy responses?  

  • In what ways have feminists engaged policymakers and activists? With what methods of mobilization?  

  • What potential do political mobilization hold to redress or aggravate gender inequalities?  

  • Are there specific challenges or opportunities for activists to mobilize in times of covid-19, and with what effects?  


Anne-Charlott Callerstig is a Senior Researcher in Gender Studies at the Centre for Feminist Social Studies (CFS) in Örebro University, Sweden. Anne-Charlott has long experience from both research and working practically with gender equality policy issues and gender mainstreaming in Sweden and on a European level. Anne-Charlott has participated in several EU and national research projects focusing the practical implementation of equality objectives and gender mainstreaming in various local and national public authorities and policy areas. She has also studied the work with gender mainstreaming in private companies. She is a Task Leader in the ongoing project RESISTIRÉ: Responding to outbreaks through co-creative equality strategies (2021-2024) which gathers ten European partners and a wider network of researchers to analyse the impact of COVID-19 policies on gendered inequalities, funded under EU Horizon2020. 

Lina Sandström is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Gender Studies and Sociology at Örebro University, and holds a PhD in Sociology. Her main research interest lies in exploring various forms of inequalities, especially in relation to migration and integration. She defended her thesis Seeking Asylum-Finding a Home? in 2020. The thesis explored integration from the perspective of asylum seekers, with a particular focus on how experiences differed depending on housing forms. After the defense, she worked as research assistant in After the early childhood years, a longitudinal study where parents’ division of paid and unpaid work was studied. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in two different projects, both problematizing the effects of covid-19: Learning to consume less: Can experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic trigger lifestyle transformation? (funded by Formas, 2021) and RESISTIRÉ: Responding to outbreaks through co-creative inclusive equality strategies (funded by EUH2020, 2021-2024).  

Sofia Strid is Associate Professor in Gender Studies, Örebro University, Sweden. She is the Research Leader of the Centre of Violence Studies and Co-Director of the GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies. She works across multiple disciplines and has held positions in Gender Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and in Comparative Inequality Issues, in Austria, Belgium, Sweden, and the UK. Strid and colleagues have developed gender+ and intersectional perspectives and frameworks for theorizing, analysing, measuring and combating and inequalities in various EU H2020 projects, most recently as Scientific Coordinator of the EUH2020-funded programs UniSAFE: Gender-based violence and institutional responses (2021–2024); RESISTIRÉ (2021–2023); and ACCTING (2021–2025). She has published extensively on violence as an inequality, e.g. “States of violence” (Journal of European Social Policy, 2021); “Undoing the Nordic ‘paradox’” (PLOS ONE, 2021), and “From gender regimes to violence regimes” (Social Politics, 2020) (with Balkmar, Hearn, Humbert). 

Published Sep. 20, 2021 11:00 AM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2021 2:56 PM