Project deals with Finnish women who have emigrated Finland in the 1960s and 1970s as labor migrants. My aim is to discuss the political – understood in the broad sense – activity of Finnish migrant women in Sweden:
What are the activities Finnish migrant women participate in? Now, after 30-50 years in Sweden, are they active in political parties, trade unions or associations? If the latter, what kind of associations are they active in? Are they mainly Finnish or Swedish associations? How do Finnish women participate and what do the associations mean to them? How was it in the past? Has their activity changed as their situations in lives have changed? How has the integration policy of Sweden launched in 1975 affected their lives? Did, for example, the language programs improve their possibilities to take part in civil activities? Or did women take advantage of the opportunities to update their education? If so, did education improve their possibilities at work, their career aspects and working environment? And last but not least, do Finnish women consider themselves as being victimized because of their gender? In general, women are an easy target for repression in migrant settings, whether at home, work or in the community. Or, did emigration empower women? After all, women became equal providers for the family working side by side with the men in factories, and because of the integration policy of Sweden they did have an access to education.
My aim is to question the image of Finnish migrant women in Sweden as invisible, passive and home-bound. Instead of presenting them as a homogeneous group, I hope to be able to show how heterogeneous the group is. Finnish immigrant women in Sweden are not only Finnish, with immigrant background, and women, they are more than anything else: individuals. My study is mainly based on interview material. There are hundreds of transcribed interviews in archives and I have conducted interviews in Västerås, Sweden.
Results of this project have partly been published in articles, and I am currently finishing a monograph on the topic in English. For the most part this monograph was written in 2006 when I was affiliated at CEIFO at the University of Stockholm, and in 2007 when I was working as Finnish Chair at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada.
The on-going project was funded by the Acadedmy of Finland and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.