Transnational perspectives on Nordic gender equality and welfare (GEN330)

In this course we will investigate Nordic gender equality and welfare models from a transnational perspective. The course addresses these issues from the perspectives of feminist theory and gender studies.

We will discuss some of the key features of gender equality and welfare theory, policy and politics in the Nordic social-democratic tradition, including work-life balance, the role of the state, the extent of "women friendliness", and intersectional gender theories and politics. The course aims also to think through growing critiques of the dominant Nordic equality norm as being heteronormative, nationalistic, and based on racial principles. We will do this by considering increasing research focus on indigenous communities, immigration, and LGBTQI+ people. The overarching questions that this course will focus on are urgent matters that have transnational reach and relevance: Is the Nordic model applicable to transnational contexts? To what extent do Nordic gender equality principles connect to a growing emphasis on prosperity and wellbeing detached from capitalist economic models?

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


Language of instruction



The purpose of this course is to introduce students to an interdisciplinary field of scholarship, which seeks to understand the emergence, proliferation and spread of a specifically Nordic model of gender equality and welfare. After tracing the establishment of the paradigm of "gender equality" in a Nordic social-democratic welfare context, the course discusses contemporary issues, such as work-life balance, intersectional understandings of gender and inequality, biopolitics, violence, and Nordic colonialism. Alongside the Nordic focus, the course actively incorporates transnational perspectives on the topics covered.

A principal aim of the course is to introduce students to a body of critical scholarship on dominant Nordic gender equality and welfare discourse. We will ask questions about who has access to the welfare services, what ideas about gender and sexuality are reproduced in the gender equality paradigm, and question whether gender equality and welfare is equally available and accessible to all. Underpinning the whole of the course will be questions around power, privilege, and inequality.

Learning outcome


  • Knowledge about key theoretical and policy frameworks for understanding gender equality and welfare perspectives in the Nordic countries, as well as their transnational perspectives
  • Knowledge about similarities and differences between the Nordic countries and variations based on intersectional approaches to equality
  • Knowledge about critical transnational approaches to the dominant Nordic equality and welfare model
  • Knowledge about key concepts in the field and their differences, such as intersectionality, equality, equity, justice and prosperity


  • Analyse and critically discuss characteristics of Nordic gender equality and how they relate to the Nordic welfare-state model in scholarship and policy
  • Analyse and asses a variety of challenges to gender equality and diversity
  • Analyse how Nordic models of gender equality and welfare have been developed and implemented in the Nordic countries, and how these policies have been received on a global scale
  • Analyse and critically discuss Nordic approaches to gender equality and welfare in a comparative context


  • Ability to understand and analyse Nordic gender equality in a comparative perspective
  • Ability to apply critical perspectives to dominant understandings of Nordic gender equality and welfare, including the ways in which they challenge an emergent alternative framework for global prosperity, justice and wellbeing
  • Ability to apply perspectives on gender equality and diversity in professional and educational situations
  • Ability to address the targets set out by The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to gender equality and reduction of different forms of inequality.

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Home exam 1/1 5 Days Letter grades

Digital home-exam: an individual written essay (2000 words) to be handed in electronically. The language for the exam is English.

Coursework requirements

To written assignments and an oral presentation
The course requires active participation, and students will have to complete three compulsory assignments that include two written activities and an oral presentation. The assignments comprise the compulsory mid-term evaluation, which will receive a pass/fail assessment. Students will have to pass this 3-part compulsory assignment in order to qualify for the final exam. The language for the course work is English.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Maja Brandt Andreasen

Method of work

The course consists of weekly sessions. These sessions will include lectures, seminars, group work and individual work - adapted to different modes of study. All students are expected to read the syllabus and participate in group discussions and thereby develop analytic reflections in a productive environment with fellow students. This will be done on and off campus and the course coordinator will facilitate a digital learning platform (Canvas). The working language for this course is English.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Transnational perspectives on Nordic gender equality and welfare (GEN530_1) 10

Open for

All study programs at the University of Stavanger.

This course can be taken as a part of the Minor in Gender Studies (30ECTS)

Exchange students.

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto