Nordic Women and the Transnational Networks During the Cold War (1945-1990)

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The Cold War years were not only a period of the political confrontation between the East and West but it was also a time when work for women’s rights and gender equality underwent further transnationalization. While transnational women’s organizations and their contribution to the establishment of gender equality norms have been studied before, the participation of the Nordic women in the international organizations and networks has not generated much interest among scholars. The panel is connected to the special issue on similar topic to be published in “Nora” in 2022.

The issues discussed in the panel may include: 

  • Women in the Nordic countries and their international work during the first years following WWII 
  • Nordic women and the United Nations (UN) or organizations connected to the UN 
  • Nordic women and developmental cooperation 
  • Ideas, networks, and cooperation between women and organizations in the Nordic countries and anti-colonial movements and grassroots women’s organizations in African, Asian, and American continents 
  • Transnational activism in Northern Europe during the International Women’s Year (1975) and the UN Decade for Women (1975–1985) 
  • Nordic women and women of the “Eastern bloc”—encounters, travels, conflicts, cooperation 
  • Peace movement and Nordic women 
  • Solidarity work and Nordic women’s organizations 
  • Biographic research on activists of the Nordic transnationalism 
  • Theoretical and methodological challenges of studying transnational women’s activism of the 
  • Cold War period (with focus on the Nordic activism) 


Yulia Gradskova is Associate Professor in History and works at the Department of History, Stockholm University and at the Center for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University (Sweden). Her research interests include Soviet and post-Soviet social and gender history, decolonial perspective on Soviet politics on emancipation of “woman of the East” and gender equality. Her last book is The Women’s International Democratic Federation, the Global South and the Cold War. Defending the Rights of Women of the ‘Whole World’? (Routledge 2021). Gradskova is the author of Soviet Politics of Emancipation of Ethnic Minority Women. Natsionalka (Springer, 2018) and co-editor of several books, including Gendering Postsocialism. Old Legacies and New Hierarchies (Routledge 2018, with Ildiko Asztalos Morell); Gender Equality on a Grand Tour. Politics and Institutions – the Nordic Council,  Sweden, Lithuania and Russia (Brill, 2017 – with E. Blomberg, Y. Waldemarson and A. Zvinkliene).  

Heidi Kurvinen is Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.  

Published Sep. 20, 2021 2:58 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2021 2:57 PM