The research project GePoCo is funded by the Academy of Finland (2016-2020) and previously by the University of Helsinki Research Funds (2015-2017). Johanna Kantola (PhD, docent, Academy Research Fellow) is the director of the project. Anna Elomäki (PhD), Paula Koskinen Sandberg (PhD) and Milja Saari (PhD) work as postdoctoral researchers and Ville Kainulainen (KM) as a PhD student in the project. The project is situated in Gender Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere.
By exploring the nexus between corporatism, power and gender our project provides insights into the challenges that surround the tripartite cooperation between trade unions, employers’ organizations and the government. Considering the crucial role played by the corporatist system in Finland there is strikingly little research into its gendered practices in relation to different policy fields or as gendered organizations and decision-making. These are the tasks we are undertaking in this project.
We conduct the empirical research of the project at local, national and transnational levels. First, we collect a multi-sited ethnographic data from the local level of trade union activism to study the gendered negotiations and practices that the trade union representatives face at workplaces, with unions and with the employers (Ville Kainulainen‘s PhD research). We explore who has a legitimate position to interpret, define and implement gender equality in these processes. Second, we study the national level corporatist negotiations where gender equality norms and policies are negotiated (Paula Koskinen Sandberg and Milja Saari‘s postdoctoral research ). We provide insights about the gendered norms and practices that these negotiations are based upon and about women and gender equality experts’ access to negotiations and boundaries to it. This generates new knowledge about the difficulties in formulating effective gender equality policies in relation to some key contemporary gender equality problems such as atypical work contracts, equal pay and outsourcing of female dominated public services. Third, we study the transnational level of the EU where gender equality questions are formulated in a ‘social dialogue’ . The EU has opened a new playing field for corporatist actors in relation to gender equality (Anna Elomäki‘s postdoctoral research).
The project is closely linked to international research network Gender Equality Policy in Practice (GEPP) directed by Professors Amy Mazur, Joni Lovenduski and Isabella Engeli. The program brings together over 70 researchers from different parts of the world and it looks at the challenges related to implementation of gender equality policies. We take part in the issue strand on implementing gender equality in labour policy in GEPP (strand directed by Amy Mazur and Roberta Guerrina).