Transnational perspectives on Nordic gender equality and welfare (GEN530)

In this course we will investigate Nordic gender equality and welfare models from a transnational perspective. 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, based on racial principles and unsustainable consumption patterns. We will do this by considering increasing research focus on indigenous communities, immigration, global chains of care, and environmental challenges, to mention a few areas. 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, in order to face climate change and environmental crises?

Course description for study year 2023-2024


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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, global chains of care, and various approaches to prosperity, justice and sustainability. 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 discourses, and their transnational connections, as well as to questions of inequality, power, and environmental challenges.

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 critically 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 demonstrate a deep understanding  of Nordic gender equality from 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 critical perspectives  and reflect on gender equality and diversity in various 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

Completed bachelor degree


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Home exam 1/1 8 Days Letter grades

Digital home-exam: an individual written essay (3000 words) to be handed in electronically. The language for the exam is English.

Coursework requirements

Two written assignments and one 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 (GEN330_1) 10

Open for

Open for all Master students at UiS

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 coordinator, the student 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 course 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