Open issue

Open issue

The second issue in 2019 is an open issue, but still the articles have a connection thematically. The common denominator is working life and how measures meant to make it more equal for women and men works in practice. Read more about parental leave, father quota and gender balance in research and higher education.

DOI: 10.18261/issn.1891-1781

More gender-equality with a father quota? Quasi-experimental studies in the Norwegian context

By Ragni Hege Kitterød og Sigtona Halrynjo

An important goal with the father quota in the parental leave scheme has been to promote a more even distribution of domestic work and paid work among parents. Both in the public debate and in researchers’ findings, the father quota is expected to contribute to greater gender equality in unpaid family work and in the labour market. However, studies of father quota reforms in Norway do not show clear effects for the first families covered by the reforms. This applies to the introduction of the quota in 1993 as well as the expansion from six to ten weeks in 2009. We discuss how to understand these results. We argue that the flexibility of the parental leave scheme in Norway may help to explain why the studies reveal few gender equality effects, as fathers may still use the leave in ways that do not promote a more even division of labour among parents. Furthermore, couples where the mother has low/no income are not covered by the reforms as the father’s eligibility for the quota is conditioned on the mother’s pre-birth employment. The interaction with other family policy elements and with the gender-segregated labour in Norway market may also be important factors.

Keywords: Family policy, father quota, parental leave, couple’s division of labour, gender equality, quasi-experimental studies, natural experiments


Employers’ responsibility for gender equality in working life. A qualitative study of how managers consider gender equality when facilitating for employees’ use of care rights

By Tanja Haraldsdottir Nordberg

The article explores how managers facilitate the use of care rights by employees. The purpose is to investigate how managers consider gender equality when facilitating employees’ use of care rights, which they are committed to through their statutory duty to actively promote gender equality and through the equality and discrimination legislation. The data comprises qualitative interviews with managers in the police and legal profession focusing on how they approach employees exercising the right to parental leave and the right to work reduced hours. The analysis show that few managers focus fully on gender equality. Most managers provide minimal facilitation by granting leave or reduced hours, while the workload of those who actively promote gender equality increases. The social landscape in which the statutory duty and care rights are supposed to function is explored based on the managers’ approach to facilitation, various institutional logics in organisations and managers’ gendered expectations. The main findings show that managers do not consider gender equality when facilitating. Furthermore, they have different expectations towards women and men, as parents and as employees. These expectations colour the managers’ approach. Gendered use of care rights constitutes a dilemma because gender equality is rarely present in the managers’ approach to facilitation.

Keywords: Managers, employers’ statutory duty to actively promote gender equality, gender equality policies, family policies, legal strategy, managers’ perspectives, police, lawyers


Gender balance through action research and local knowledge production

By Siri Øyslebø Sørensen, Vivian Anette Lagesen, Knut Holtan Sørensen og Guro Korsnes Kristensen

This paper argues that local making of knowledge about gender balance dynamics is needed to motivate for concrete action and develop inclusion actors. Gender balance in academia has been a political and scholarly topic since the 1970s. Nevertheless, change is slow. Research aiming to explain the lack of women in academia has mainly understood this in terms of general features of research and higher education. However, there are large variations between departments at the same faculties, not easily explained in this way. Therefore, we carried out an action research project with a focus on departments to study what may be achieved at this level. Through analysis of data generated by the project, with 12 participating departments at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, we discuss what motivates and limits head of departments and other departmental actors in improving the gender balance among faculty. Three main features are critical for local achievements and for developing inclusion actors conscious of and engaged in gender balance: (1) Competence, tools and motivation for local making of knowledge about gender balance and action alternatives, (2) access to scholarly knowledge to legitimise and embed action, and (3) resources to implement relevant measures.

Keywords: Gender balance, universities, university departments, local knowledge making, action research, inclusion