Gender equality and quality of life (GEQ) - a study of Norway and Poland (completed)

Post-doctoral fellowship ”Gender equality and quality of life – how gender equality can contribute to development in Europe, a study of Norway and Poland”

About the project

The post-doctoral project is a part of the bilateral project “Gender equality and quality of life” which through exploring relations between gender equality, work, family, quality of life, politics and culture in Poland and Norway aims to develop theories and methodology on gender and gender equality. 

Gender equality is an explicit goal in Poland and Norway, as it is for international institutions such as the EU, the World Bank and the UN. The ideal of women and men having equal rights and opportunities has widespread support, though the conception of gender equality is far from unanimous. The notion of what gender equality is or ought to be differs in various historical, cultural and social contexts. However, within research and political bodies on national and transnational levels, key areas for gender equality are employment, education, family law and political representation. Moreover, aspects that traditionally have been considered as belonging to the private sphere, such as the division of unpaid work in the family and violence against women, have to a larger extent become included in the gender equality field. So has also the significance of men’s role.

Outcomes - the aim of the project

The aim of the post-doctoral project is to explore and compare relations between various aspects affecting gender equality in Poland and Norway, including practices in everyday life, in the workplace, in the family and in civil society. Trough a comparative analysis the project seeks to identify the opportunities and constraints for gender equality. The comparative approach provides other perspectives and insights than an investigation of a single country does, as it differentiates between national specific and transnational features related to gender equality practices. Thus, this perspective offers explanations that can be transferred to other national contexts.


In order to theorize gender equality there are several reasons making Poland and Norway interesting to compare: In international studies Norway, as other Nordic countries, are considered as vanguards of gender equality. In 2013, Norway was ranked no. 3 by the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index, while Poland was positioned as no. 54. There are significant differences between the two countries regarding economic, political and cultural conditions that are assumed to influence gender equality attitudes and practices.

Through empirical investigations combining quantitative and qualitative data, the post-doctoral project explores gender equality along three dimensions: Civil society, employment, and family life. These three dimensions are examined as processes on various levels: On a structural level, the project explores how gender equality is influenced by economic conditions, legislation and welfare arrangements. On a political level, the project investigates the extent to which actors from civil society, in particular labor unions and feminist organisations, have contributed to developing gender equality policy.  On a cultural level, the concept of gender equality is explained in relation to notions about national identity, religion, ideology and constructions of masculinity and femininity. The project also explores gender equality on an individual level, as lived experience and practices that are negotiated in everyday life. In order to identify opportunities and constraints for gender equality practices the project applies an interdisciplinary approach, combining methods from social science, cultural studies and history. 


The EEA Grants and Norway Grants.


Jagiellonan University in Krakow, HELSAM and STK, University of Oslo.

Published Apr. 28, 2014 2:30 PM - Last modified Nov. 14, 2016 3:17 PM