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Maria Grönroos Elected to Board of Atgender

Maria Grönroos, deputy manager of the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research and director of NIKK, was elected into the board of Atgender at a conference in Barcelona last week. Grönroos hopes that the organisation will promote cooperation across national boundaries and bring feminist forces in Europe together.

Maria Grönroos. Foto: Ragnhild Fjellro
Maria Grönroos. Foto: Ragnhild Fjellro

How does it feel?
‘It feels great! I’ve been engaged in Nordic and European cooperation around gender research for a long time, and I see Atgender as the leading European organisation for anybody involved in gender research, knowledge-based activism, policy making and gender equality work.’

How would you describe the role of Atgender?
‘The main purpose of Atgender is to gather feminist actors and voices in Europe around issues related to research and education, but also policy making and gender equality work. There are a large number of actors out there, but they are usually pretty small in their respective national contexts. It is therefore important that we gather our forces and share our knowledge and experiences with each other. At last week’s conference in Barcelona, both researchers and bureaucrats pointed to important weaknesses in Europe. They mentioned xenophobic forces that are also anti-feminist, as well as EU policy that is turning back the clock in a feminist perspective. Examples include the abortion issue, discussions about positive action and making individuals solely responsible for their salaries, care burden and work situation in the name of freedom of choice.’

What are your responsibilities as a board member?
‘A number of tasks have already been assigned to the members. I will be in charge of economic issues, together with two tax experts, and I will also work with member communication and the journal subscriptions that are available to members.’

What do you think Atgender should focus more on?
‘Atgender should focus more on recruitment of members – also among bureaucrats and activists. That way we could achieve the critical mass needed to attract more funding to gender researcher and to reach out with education beyond academia. I also think it’s important that we together build an infrastructure of contacts, networks and communication that will enable more cooperation between countries.

Updated 30 August 2020