Thematic Network on Gender in the Arctic Knowledge Production


The thematic focus area of the network is to facilitate intersectional and gender-responsible knowledge production in and of the Arctic as part of sustainable development and related governance in the Circumpolar area. The multidisciplinary TN gathers interested researchers together especially from the UArctic member institutions to discuss, map and analyze the socio-material relationalities and ethico-onto-epistemologies in the Arctic knowledge production processes, which includes the definition and inclusion of indigenous knowledges. As a result of the collective work the TN will increase transdisciplinary understanding on intersectional and gender-responsible Arctic knowledge production i.e. research methodologies to further produce insights for sustainable Arctic knowledge production practices including its governance.


The goal is to co-create common understanding about intersectional gender-responsible knowledge production structures, processes and resources within UArctic. For this purpose, researchers interested to contribute to the focus area are invited to join the thematic network and to share their local practices and experiences in an on-line platform established exclusively for the TN. In addition to the on-line communication also physical meetings and workshops could be arranged at UArctic conferences and at Arctic Science Summit Weeks.

  • to map and elaborate upon formal gender equality plans (GEPs) and informal gender equality processes in diversity of UArctic member institutions to initiate a common GEP for UArctic, and
  • to map and elaborate upon intersectional gender-responsible methodologies already in use and propose guidelines for UArctic member institutions for such

Projects and Grants:

  • Collaboration with the on-going W-STEM project (1.1.2019 – 31.12.2021) has resulted valuable synergies related to gender equality promotion in Higher Education reported in some extend in the Arctic Yearbook 2020 (Heikkinen et al. 2020). W-STEM project is funded under European Union ERASMUS+ Capacity-building in Higher Education Programme aiming at improving strategies and mechanisms of attraction, access and guidance of Women in STEM Higher Education programs in Latin America. University of Oulu contributes as a partner for the project execution.
  • Redesigning equality and scientific excellence together RESET -project (1.1.2021 – 31.12.2024) focuses on implementation of the gender equality plans in European higher education institutions. TN will have synergies with the H2020 funded CSA project as UOulu is RESET.
  • Thule Institute at the University of Oulu provides grants for International Networking Actions in the Arctic Research. An application starting preparations for Gender in the Arctic Five Universities - exploratory workshop on intersectional gender equality measures and co-design of gender equality plans was successful. So an exploratory research workshop to connect with researchers in the thematic area is under planning including a preparation of a Nordic application.
  • IASC is an Observer to the Arctic Council and so is eligible to send representatives to Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group’s. Online Plenary Meeting was arranged on 26-28 November. TN lead participated as an IASC HS-WG HoD observer representative having special interest on gender impact assessment (GIA) of the proposed and ongoing projects. Further discussion on GIA is needed in aim to fully gain its benefits. TN member Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, Chair of the Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group of the Arctic Council SDWG from Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network coordinating the Gender Equality in the Arctic activity presented the current phase of it. The value of the activity is indisputable:
  • Arctic Yearbook 2020 was launched on November 11 consisting an article “Intersectional gender-responsibility in STEM: Co-creating sustainable Arctic knowledge production” by Heikkinen, Pihkala, Pääsky and Harmoinen. The whole AY2020 publication is available here
  • IASC Social and Human Working Group (SH-WG) Meeting on 28 March 2020 aligned with ASSW 2020 Akureyri, Iceland was successfully arranged in Zoom. Collaboration possibilities with UArctic TN on Gender in Arctic knowledge production were viewed and could be further developed.
  • UArctic north2north mobility grant was appointed to Firouz Gaini from University of The Faroe Islands for a one week visit at the University of Oulu. Due to covid-19 pandemic the visit was postponed to 2021.

Presentations and Talks:

  • Reclaiming Equal Futures in Arctic Universities was the title of a paper that group of researchers from Gender in Arctic Five Universities  - Mervi Heikkinen (University of Oulu), Lena Abrahamsson (Luleå University of Technology) & Päivi Naskali (University of Lapland) - presented in Finnish Gender Studies conference that was arranged online on 12-13 of November 2020. 
  • Shared Voices interview on November 10 with Mervi Heikkinen (University of Oulu), lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Gender in Arctic Knowledge Production is available here
  • Sustainability and Intersectional gender responsible STS – considerations to epistemic contribution was a contribution that has a focus on indigenous involvement in knowledge production (Heikkinen and Pihkala, forthcoming). 2020 HDCA (Human Development ad Capability Association’s) conference was arranged online in New Zealand on August 30 to July 2 with a theme New Horizon’s – Sustainability and Justice.

Projects and Grants:

  • Academic North project (31.8.2018 – 31.10.2020) focused on Advancing Cross-border Labor-based Mobility of Academically Educated People and Equal Recruiting Practices in the Arctic North. The final Summit 25-27 August 2020 gathered online presenters and participants to hear about the project’s results and recommendations for the future. Academic North Call for Action is the concluding document of Academic North -project and Academic North Summit event. Additionally “North is ON” social media campaign on LinkedIN and Facebook pages goes on - please take a look and contribute!


Other Information

Mervi Heikkinen, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Gender in the Arctic Knowledge Production