Professor Johanna Niemi led a project “Gendered Choices in Structures of Law and Gender” which was managed by the University of Helsinki but since Prof. Niemi moved to the University of Turku on 1 January 2014, it became a joint project between the two universities. The project has been carried out jointly with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Institute of Law, and has received funding both from the Academy of Finland and CASS.
The focus of the project as been law and gender as the central social structures constricting choices by women and men. Post-modern gender studies, approaching gender as identity, performance or construction, have a difficult relation to earlier feminist theories that emphasized gender as social structure. The project acknowledged the structural power of law and gender but also raised the agency of women and men when they make important choices in their lives.
The project has emphasized exchange of ideas in the area. Even though both societies deal with similar issues, such as violence against women and discrimination on the basis of maternity, it is difficult to compare the level of gender equality in such different political and cultural contexts as the Chinese and Finnish. Therefore collaboration, based on exchange of information and ideas, has been more about learning from the other’s legal system to gain new perspectives for approaching one’s own.
Johanna Niemi, professor of procedural law, University of Turku. Professor of law and Gender, University of Helsinki (part-time). Johanna Niemi is writing a text book on law and gender, especially for the law students and lawyers.
Xue Ninglan, professor, CASS. Xue Ninglan has worked with the new legislation on violence against women in China. She is interested in equality law and gender theory.
Dai Rui-Jun, associate professor, Institute of International Law, CASS. Dai Rui-Jun is an expert on international law and gender issues.
Guo Hui-Min, Director of Centre for Women’s Development and Rights, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xian.