Gender Research

Picture of Tromsø public library. From outside looking in on people reading and studying.  Gender research in Norway has traditionally been strong on subjects such as the labour market and the welfare state, family and care, health, violence, education and rural development. Tromsø Public Library. Photo: iStock by Getty Images.


Gender research is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of research.

Research that studies the implications of how gender is interpreted takes many shapes and names; women’s studies, feminist research, critical men’s studies, masculinity research, queer, gay and lesbian studies, research on gender equality and more. In Norway there has been a shift from the concept “women’s studies" established in the 1980s towards “women’s studies and gender research", or just “gender research". The shift has come with the changing focus from women as an oppressed group to gender as relational, constructed and culturally rooted.

For the sake of brevity the concept gender research will be used on this website and will cover a large and diverse field.

Gender research in Norway has traditionally been strong on subjects such as the labour market and the welfare state, family and care, health, violence, education and rural development. It is well represented in disciplines such as history, literature, sociology, pedagogy, medicine, law, theology and technology. The interdisciplinary approach has been important from the beginning, and today questions of ethnicity, sexuality, and race are crosscutting issues. Gender research is also a set of various theoretical, ethical and methodological topics.

Most of the research and teaching in Norway is carried out in traditional academic departments and institutions within humanities, social sciences and other fields such as technology and medicine.

Here you will find an overview of the Norwegian infrastructure for gender research including research units, link to journals and publications on gender research, networks and gender researchers in Norway. 

Read more about Norwegian gender research nationally and abroad at Kilden

Resources for Gender Research

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Centre for Gender Research, Oslo

The Centre For Gender Reseach at the University of Oslo is the largest gender research centre in Norway and has existed since 1986. The Centre offers a bachelor programme and master programme in Gender Studies and courses in Gender Studies at BA, MA and Phd level, in close collaboration with other departments and faculties at the University of Oslo. 

Read more at Centre for Gender Research

Center for Gender Studies, Trondheim

The Center for Gender studies at NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology is an integral part of the Norwegian Gender Research field. It is a member of the National Association of Gender Studies and is connected to both Nordic and international research networks. The Center offers courses and programmes at Bachelor, Master's and PhD level. The Center for Gender studies also runs the university-wide, cross-disciplinary network NTNU GenderHub.

Read more at the Center for Gender Studies (SKF)

Centre for Women's and Gender Research, Bergen

The Centre for Women’s and Gender Research (SKOK) at the University of Bergen is an interdisciplinary research centre that aims to service all the faculties at the University of Bergen. SKOK’s main objective is to strengthen women’s and gender research at the university as well as other research communities, both nationally and internationally. SKOK also offers a bachelor program in gender studies, a one-year program in gender studies and doctoral education within the field.

Read more at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research (SKOK)


Fafo is an independent and multidisciplinary research foundation who works within both a domestic Norwegian and larger international context. A key to Fafo’s work on gender issues is the mainstreaming of gender issues in social analysis. All projects have an explicit aim to include gender as variable in the analysis, in line with a general holistic perspective on living conditions.

Search for gender research at Fafo's website

KUN Centre for Equality and Diversity

KUN Centre for Equality and Diversity is a non-governmental organization. KUN has two offices located in Steigen and Steinkjer, Norway. They conduc research, run workshops, arrange courses, conferences, and study trips on a broad range of topics. The essence of their work is to provide perspectives for change, as well as to bridge the gap between research and practice, by cooperating with government agencies, counties, municipalities and various business associations.

Read more at KUN's website

Centre for Equality, Hamar

The Centre for Equality is an inter-disciplinary expertise centre that since its inception in 1983 has worked to address equality issues in all layers of Norwegian society. Our role is to create and communicate theoretical and practical knowledge relating to equality that can be applied by public authorities, private enterprises and volunteer-based organisations. We do this primarily through research, counselling, courses and workshops, and the publication of reports, analyses and issue briefs.

Read more at the Centre for Equality


Ancient objects shed new light on women’s role in the Viking raids


Kitchen equipment from the British Isles has been found in graves belonging to Viking women from aristocratic families. “We can gain new knowledge about women’s participation in the Viking raids by posing new questions to old findings,” according to researcher.

Read more at Kilden

Can Artificial intelligence affect gender equality?


A new knowledge overview provides a review of all Norwegian research on equality and artificial intelligence. From this overview, it is evident that we are not prepared for the consequences that the new technology might have for gender equality.


Siblings provide valuable support for students of immigrant origin


Many students with non-Western backgrounds pursue challenging educational programmes. For them, sibling support is an important resource.


New report from Nordic Co-operation: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny


A new survey of the affiliation of Nordic men with misogynistic internet communities shows that around 850 Nordic young men are active in such forums. 


Seeking more European research that integrates a gender dimension


A new EU report shows how gender and sex analysis can make research better and more creative – including in disciplines that have not yet incorporated them.


Sex testing of female athletes: fair or unethical?


Female athletes with a high testosterone level are required to take hormone-reducing medication in order to participate in the women’s category. This is problematic, according to researcher Mari Haugaa Engh.


The KIF Committee’s recommendations to promote gender balance in higher education and research institutions


The Norwegian KIF Committee has drawn up a set of recommendations to support gender balance efforts at all levels of universities, university colleges and research institutes.


EU demands gender equality plan before granting funds


Beginning next year, a research organization applying to Horizon Europe will need to have a gender equality plan to be eligible for funding. But Heidi Holt Zachariassen and Curt Rice of Norway’s KIF committee wonder if that will be enough to achieve real change that is inclusive for all.


Why are fewer men becoming fathers than before?


Although fewer women are having children than before, not having children is far more common among men. One in five men haven’t had children of their own by the age of 50. Fewer and fewer men are becoming fathers. What’s happening to Norwegian men? 


What's next for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS)?


2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325. But the important Women, Peace and Security agenda seem to have had a backlash in recent years. New report from Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.


Women publish more than people think


The assumption that male academics publish more than their female colleagues is deeply ingrained. But new analysis shows that much of the difference vanishes if you dig into the numbers.


Munch and the myth of the genius


Art historian and curator Lars Toft-Eriksen explores the idea of Munch as an artistic genius and how this idea was connected to gender and expressions of gender in his time.

Read more at Kilden

Europe lacks sexual harassment measures and research


Research on sexual harassment in academia is poorly developed and there are few measures in place to combat the harassment itself. The Nordic countries are no exception. So concludes a new European study.


Gender equality slowly increasing at the top of Norwegian businesses


The proportion of women in lead positions in Norwegian companies is slowly increasing, but having gender quota legislation on boards does not seem to have any transmissive effect on the proportion of women on executive committees, according to this year’s CORE Norwegian Gender Balance Scorecard.


Centres of Excellence should be front-runners in gender balance and diversity


While Norwegian Centres of Excellence are at the cutting edge of research, they are low on gender balance. Many believe the centres should be role models in gender balance and diversity.


What Does the Status of Women Reveal about a Nation’s Pandemic Preparedness and Response?


New research note co-authored by the PRIO Centre for Gender, Peace and Security. Researchers investigated the relationship between women’s wellbeing and risk factors associated with a COVID-19 outbreak that exceeds a nation’s capacity to respond.  


Europe lacks sexual harassment measures and research


Research on sexual harassment in academia is poorly developed and there are few measures in place to combat the harassment itself. The Nordic countries are no exception. So concludes a new European study.


Fewer publications from women researchers after COVID-19


The COVID-19 measures in place appear to affect the productivity of women researchers more than men. According to a Danish research analyst, immediate steps to reverse this trend are needed.


Changing masculinity in Norwegian black metal


In Norwegian black metal, monstrous images of hyper-masculinity is emphasised. This has given many fans power over their own identity.


The EU will support innovative women


Innovation will be given greater focus in the ongoing EU effort to design the next research and innovation framework programme. This represents a good opportunity to improve the gender balance in innovation environments, says Anita Krohn Traaseth.


Why aren't Norwegian women having more than two children?


The main reason for the low birth rates in Norway is not that the number of childless adults is increasing, but that fewer people who have two children choose to have a third.


Men read as much as women, at least when it comes to audiobooks


Men who subscribe to audiobook services listen as much, if not more, than women. That's good news, one professor says.


Harassing humour begins among the officers


Humour has an important function for solidarity and team spirit among conscripts in the military. According to researchers, however, it may also contribute to many women leaving the military after the compulsory military service.


Women’s travel behaviour make cities greener


Planning cities for and with women can make the city both safer and more environment friendly, according to researchers.


Updated innovation concept means greater diversity


Innovation has typically been thought of as involving patents, licences and start-ups. Today, innovation researchers have a far broader understanding of the concept, believes research leader Espen Solberg.


No discrimination against women whose CVs are as good as men’s


Women and men in Norway have equal chances to move up professionally in academia as a whole. There are, however, a number of systematic differences, according to new study. 


Research on energy is not gender neutral


"The meaning of gender perspectives in research is often reduced to just counting the number of men and women. This is a very shallow interpretation of the term. In order to create a better climate, we need to understand the people behind the energy habits," according to researcher.


Record-low birth rates in three Nordic countries


The Nordic Council of Ministers publishes The State of the Nordic Region-report every other year. The 2020 report reveales that birth rates in Finland, Norway and Iceland are at record-low levels. 


Silence about sexual harassment remains a problem in academia


Two years after the #MeToo movement started, sexual harassment issues are still not included in the national Working Environment and Climate Surveys. The Ministry of Education and Research declines to take a stand.


Patriarchal structures an obstacle to women in politics in many countries


– Most often the priviliged are the winners in politics, and who is priviliged depends on gender, says professor at Department of Comparatice Politicts at the University of Bergen Ragnhild Muriaas, who has lead the research project Money Talks. 


Professors interviewed by Norwegian print media are usually men


Only two out of ten professors interviewed were women in the two Norwegian print newspapers in 2016, according to results from a recent study. 


English summary: The gender-segregated labour market at the workplace level


The Norwegian labour market is clearly segregated by gender. Although women and men have approximately identical rates of labour force participation, they work in different professions, industries and sectors. Read the English summary of this Fafo-report about gender segregation in Norwegian the labour market.


English summary: Norwegians' attitudes towards gender equality, hate speech and the instruments of gender equality policy


The research foundation Fafo routinely publish reports on gender related topics. Here is an English summary of their report on Norwegians' attitudes towards gender equality, hate speech and the instruments of gender equality policy from 2019.


Half of women with heart failure get the wrong treatment


As many as 50 per cent of women suffering from cardiac arrest are given insufficient treatment, because the heart failure was not caused by a heart attack. Professor Eva Gerdts at the University of Bergen has has done research on difference in heart disease between men and women.


– We must put women’s and men’s talents to use, regardless of ethnic background


The Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research (KIF Committee) are researchers, administrators and students at Norwegian universities, university colleges and research institutes. In this article the members explain what they see as the greatest gender equality and diversly challenges in academia.  


Gender equality in academia under pressure?


Critical perspectives on the promotion of internationalization and excellence in academia were discussed at seminar hosted by NORDICORE – Nordic Centre for Research on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation. 


– Of course Muslim feminists exist


With her book about feminism in Islam, Marianne Hafnor Bøe not only aims to create awareness of Muslim feminists, she also wants to expand the term ‘feminism’.

Read more at Kilden

Looking to reap the benefits of internationalization


In recent years some have asked whether the ceiling has been reached for the number of foreigners in Norwegian academia. The Young Academy of Norway would rather have a debate on how to best take advantage of this new diversity.


– Europe wants more gender research


Gender equality generates better results within research and innovation. In addition, EU bureaucrats argue that European research funding should be earmarked with specific requirements for gender perspectives.

Read more at Kilden

Gender points can open new doors for men and women alike


“The use of gender points is not just about lifting people over a point threshold they would not otherwise reach. It is also about sending a signal that women and men are both wanted in the programme,” says Research Director Liza Reisel.


– Gender issues are ridiculed and sabotaged in the military


The masculine culture in the Norwegian Armed Forces is a democratic problem. This makes it difficult to work with issues related to gender, according to researcher. 

Read more at Kilden

Children of immigrants stigmatized for choosing prestigious studies


The children of immigrants are often met with the attitude that their choice of education has been dictated by social control. On the contrary, these sons and daughters are intent on making their own choices, says researcher Marianne Takvam Kindt.


Religious minority youth between patriarchy and gender equality


Gender roles is a delicate topic for religious minority groups. Many of them accept traditional gender segregation in the religious community, but struggle with prejudices from the greater society, according to researcher.

Read more at Kilden

New survey indicates urgent need for research on sexual harassment


The results of the national survey on bullying and harassment in Norway’s higher education sector are finally in. But the reasons why harassment occurs remain unclear, according to the Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research.


Ending sexual harassment – a precondition for gender equality


The Nordic co-operation Programme on Gender Equality 2019 - 2022 highlights efforts to combat sexual harassment as particular urgent. In this publication the Nordic co-operation body NIKK, Nordic Information on Gender, summarize some of the current initiatives and measures being taken in the Nordic countries to end sexual harassment. 

Read more at NIKK – Nordic Information on Gender and Nordic Council of Ministers

– Women’s historical contributions are still ignored, says professor


Traditionally men have been the main figures of history, but what do we know about women's history and why is it important? Kilden has asked four Norwegian historians about their relation to women’s history. 

Read more at Kilden

Feminist scientists criticise gender bias in the tech industry


Whatever you find when you google depends on the people who have developed the algorithms. American researcher fears enhanced sexism and racism unless the IT sector begins to promote diversity.

Read more at Kilden

Men are more often than women fooled by placebo


It was not until the 1990s that researchers fully began to include both genders in health research. Sara Magelssen Vambheim has contributed with valuable new insights in her study of gender differences in pain experiences.

Read more in the newsmagazine at Kilden

The EU raises the standard of Norwegian gender equality policies


That the EU affects Norwegian gender equality policies has mostly proven to be a good thing. But an individual-oriented policy puts pressure on the social democratic approach, say researchers.

Read more in the newsmagazine at Kilden

Minority girls in need of a more uniform child welfare system


Do the Norwegian child welfare service succeed in helping young girls from minority backgrounds who experience strong social control and violence at home? Researchers found that measures should be taken to ensure greater knowledge of and trust in the service, aimed at young people.


New booklet: What is the Gender Dimension in Research?


In the booklet «What is the Gender Dimension in Research?» Kilden presents case studies from a variety of scientific fields.The book is made to help and inspire researchers who wish to apply a gender dimension in their research.

Read more at Kilden

OPINION: The gender dimension should be broadly integrated in research


The quality of research designed to solve our time’s social challenges is strengthened when the gender dimension is included, writes John-Arne Røttingen, director of The Research Council of Norway.

Read more at Kilden

Intelligent robots may strengthen gender norms


Machines and technology increasingly fill more and more human functions. According to researchers, society’s gender roles affect the development of robots and artificial intelligence, but technology may also shape ideas about gender.

Read more at Kilden

European gender scholars unite in resistance against right-wing attacks


How are Hungarian, Polish and Swedish gender scholars responding to criticism and campaigns to discredit their work? Not only do they emphasize the intrinsic value of gender studies - they also use humour to counter the anti-gender campaigns.

Read more at Kilden

Knowledge about gender needs decolonising


The legacy from colonialism characterises Norwegian academia. Now, Norwegian researchers want to examine their own disciplines and include non-western perspectives in the academic institutions’ scholarly production.

Read more at Kilden

Domestic violence is a gendered problem


The way in which we understand violence against women has changed, according to researcher Linda Sjåfjell. It used to be perceived as a gender equality problem, whereas today we explain it in more individual terms.

Read more at Kilden

#MeToo kick starts Nordic research on sexual harassment


We have asked stakeholders in the sector about the status of research on sexual harassment in Nordic academia in the wake of #MeToo.


Podcast: A threat to academic freedom is a threat to women’s rights


Academic freedom is threatened by authoritarian right-wing populism in countries in Europe and Latin America. Listen to a podcast discussing why this matters to women's rights.

Read more at Kilden

Sexual harassment is about masculine power


The #metoo campaign has shown that sexual harassment in the workplace is a large-scale societal problem. Now, researchers want to change focus from spicy stories to constructive debate on sexuality and power.


Read more at Kilden

Body-image pressure, school and worries make more girls mentally ill


More and more young girls seek help for mental problems. “Generally, girls take things more seriously than boys. This applies to school, friends and family," says researcher Anders Bakken.

Read more at Kilden

The contraceptive pill: A story of sexual liberation and dubious research methods


In 1967, Norwegian women were finally allowed to decide for themselves when to get pregnant. The contraceptive pill has had enormous significance for women’s emancipation, but researchers doubt whether it would have been approved today.

Read more at Kilden

Project explores the neo-liberal turn in the Nordic welfare states


The Nordic welfare states have in recent decades been challenged by neo-liberal ideals. How does this affect the gender equality and the status of care work? This will be explored in a new Nordic research project.

Read more at NIKK - Nordic Information on Gender

Major gender gap in health research


Women’s bodies are different from men’s. We need more knowledge to better understand women’s health, says medical doctor and Professor Johanne Sundby. She finds support in a new report on the same topic.

Read more at Kilden

Women with reduced functional abilities are considered asexual


To participate in the labour market and to have a family are things most people take for granted. Women with functional disabilities are deprived of many opportunities. The explanation may be both functional ability and gender, according to researcher.

Read more at Kilden