Nordic Report

Promising Nordic Practices in Gender Equality Promotion in Basic Education and Kindergartens

‘Can one speak of a ‘Nordic equality model’ in education?’
‘How can Nordic countries benefit from a joint gender equality promotion?’
‘Can Nordic gender equality promotion be beneficial for non-European countries?’

These are some of the questions asked in this report emerging from Nordic collaboration carried out in 2014, funded by Nordic Council of Ministers.

Nordic collaboration in issues of gender equality has a history spanning four decades. In the late 1960s, Sweden adopted the promotion of gender equality as a goal in its education, while, in the 1970s, cooperation and research networks on education and gender were created at national and Nordic levels.

In recent years, the issue of gender equality in schools and preschools has received extensive attention in Nordic and many non-Nordic European countries. The reasons for this attention are one, that the development of Nordic societies has caused pressure to update gender equality laws to bring about equality and equity in schools; and two, that boys have begun to fall behind girls’ achievements academically in many western countries, drawing attention again to gender issues. Changes in legislation create pressure for educational professionals to develop their practices. However, gender-equality promotion practices vary considerably between Nordic countries and between regions of single countries.

The Mapping Promising Nordic Practices -project (2015), funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers gathered information on gender equality promotion at schools and kindergartens in each Nordic country Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. The country reports are consisting similar structure which aims to make the country comparison feasible. The issues tackled in each country report are: background of the gender equality work, current legislation, organization for gender equality promotion, education for school staff, resources for gender equality promotion and examples of promising practices. There suggested promising Nordic Practices will be closer studied in the follow-up project focusing on dissemination of the project results and on-line training pilot designed especially for headmasters and leaders of early childhood education institutions.

Moreover, the project resulted awareness that significant similarities exist in how each Nordic nation approaches gender equality in education. These similarities may be foundational to promoting gender equality in schools; and therefore cannot be overlooked. Principles forming a platform for cross-Nordic gender equality education:

  1. The Nordic welfare states as “gender-responsible states”.
  2. Gendered citizenship in Nordic democratic societies.
  3. Equality as a founding principle of education for all residents of Nordic countries.

Publication details:
Promising Nordic Practices in Gender Equality Promotion in Basic Education and Kindergartens

Heikkinen Mervi (editor),
Authors: Mervi Heikkinen, Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oulu, Finland
Miia Heikkilä, Mälardalens Högskola, Sweden
Cecilie Nørgaard, Mangfold, Denmark
Ole Bredesen Nordfjell, Reform, Norway
Auður Magndís Auðardóttir and Bergljót Þrastardóttir, Iceland

© copyright University of Oulu and authors
ISBN: 978-952-62-1155-8
Oulun yliopiston kasvatustieteellisen tiedekunnan elektronisia julkaisuja 11
ISSN: 1455-8025