Göteborgs universitet

Nordic Law and Gender Conference 2023: Past-Present-Future

Welcome to the Nordic Law and Gender Conference 2023: Past-Present-Future. A Nordic international conference hosted by the Department of Law at the University of Gothenburg.

About the conference

The 2023 conference on the theme ‘Past-Present-Future’ aims to engage with not only the present and future challenges of law and gender in the Nordics but also to make the histories and legacies of law and gender in the Nordics matter in this process. The conference brings together legal scholars and practicians working in the fields of law, gender, and feminism broadly conceived. It seeks to situate the legal developments in the different Nordic countries in the context of a rapidly changing transnational, legal, social, political and economic landscape. The overall aim is to provide a legal, theoretical and critical basis for debates about past, present and future transformations of Nordic law.

Important dates

Call for papers, deadline June 30, 2023

Registration, September 1, 2023


Unsettling the Borderlands: Race and Coloniality in Nordic feminist perspectives of law

Miriam Bak McKenna

Intersections of race, gender and coloniality are central not only to decolonial thought but to contemporary understandings of gender power relations more broadly. Yet in the Nordic context, conceptual discussions of imperial legacies and traces of the coloniality of gender and race have largely been subsumed by the doxa of Nordic colonial exceptionalism as peripheral to the wider colonial project. This is also true of Nordic feminist perspectives on law which have, to a large degree, been limited to questions of gender within the borders of the nation-state. Unsettling these borders, drawing on the work of decolonial feminist scholar Gloria Anzaldua, and existing insights into the various ways in which Nordic states were and continue to be complicit in colonial processes, this paper seeks to elaborate how the growing canon of ‘new imperial’ legal scholarship can develop Nordic feminist perspectives on law. This includes a reconceptualization of the conceptual and institutional trajectories of empire, particularly the ‘metropolitan turn’ which has emphasized the importance of recognizing and studying how colonialism shaped the histories not only of the colonies, but also those of the metropoles.

Bio: Miriam Bak McKenna, Ph.D, LL.M. University of Copenhagen is an Associate Professor of Law at the Institute of Social Science and Business, Roskilde University. Her work focusses on the theory and history of international law, drawing in particular on critical feminist and decolonial approaches to law. Her book Reckoning with Empire: Self-Determination in International Law (Brill) was released in December 2022

  • Dr Maria Run Bjarnardottir, University of Iceland: Criminal Law, Gender equality and violence against women and criminal law.
  • Dr (docent) Leila Brännström, University of Gothenburg, Sweden: Public administrative law and discrimination.
  • Professor Ingunn Ikdahl, University of Oslo, Norway: welfare law, care work and natural resources.
  • Dr (docent) Immi Tallgren, University of Helsinki School of Law, Finland: Nordic Women in International law. International and EU law scholar.

Call for papers

The organizing committee invites papers to be presented at the 2023 Law and Gender Conference, October 25–27, 2023.

We welcome abstracts (ca 250 words) from scholars and practitioners on the theme of our 2023 Nordic Law and Gender conference theme, the ‘Past-Present-Future’. This theme aims to engage with not only the present and future challenges of law and gender in the Nordics but also to make the histories and legacies of law and gender in the Nordics matter in this process. The conference brings together legal scholars and practitioners working in the fields of law, gender, and feminism broadly conceived. It seeks to situate the legal developments in the different Nordic countries in the context of a rapidly changing transnational, legal, social, political and economic landscape. The overall aim is to provide a legal, theoretical and critical basis for debates about past, present and future transformations of Nordic law and jurisprudence.


This stream brings together scholars, practitioners and activists interested in criminal law broadly conceived. In specific, we welcome papers that address how times of increasingly repressive crime policies in the Nordic countries shapes feminist engagement with the penal system and gender/intersectional analyses of criminal law. Is it possible to seek to improve the penal system through examination and critique, and simultaneously adopt a generally critical stance toward the system itself, querying its ability to achieve or help achieve justice? Considering changing geopolitical, socioeconomic, environmental, and economic relations, this stream hope to provide new ways of imagining and acting upon the historically close connection between feminism, the state, and criminal law measures in the Nordic countries.   

Contact: Ulrika Andersson,  ulrika.andersson@jur.lu.se, professor, criminal law, Faculty of Law, Lund University, Linnea Wegerstad,  linnea.wegerstad@jur.lu.se, senior lecturer, Faculty of Law, Lund University.

The Nordic countries have abolished tax regulations that explicitly differentiate between men and women. However, formally gender-neutral tax provisions and tax policies can affect women and men differently because tax laws interact with socioeconomic realities and the social security system. It is therefore important to analyze tax law in a broader socioeconomic and social law context. Gender differences in outcome correlated especially with persisting gender gaps in employment rates and patterns, in the distribution of unpaid work, as well as with regard to income, old age security, poverty and wealth. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and present economic crisis tax policy agenda, tax policy makers on particularly the international level, have come to insight that the tax policy agenda of the past decades have created a multitude of sustainability and inequality issues that ultimately contradict the Agenda 2030 global goals to combat poverty, centered on women and their children. Future tax policies need to be sensitive to what socio-economic gender inequalities tax regulations have both created and neglected. Future tax reforms also need to be a part of the mobilization and redistribution of resources to build substantive capacity of fair tax reforms to create inclusive societies.  

In this session we welcome papers that address issues related to gender inequalities in taxation from different perspectives based in law, economics, human rights, fiscal sociology, and other relevant perspectives. 

Contact:  Åsa Gunnarsson, asa.gunnarsson@umu.se , professor, Ume University. 

Climate change does not discriminate, in the sense that it adversely affects both physical and social environments. However, due to existing multi-dimensional injustices within societies, some human groups may experience climate change disproportionately based on their perceived gender, race and social identities and economic status. Widespread gender inequality in societies also ensures that women as a group are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change through having lesser social and political standings than men. At the same time, women’s experiences also vary depending on the societal designs of the regions and their economic realities: such as women groups from wealthy economies in the global North and the Nordics may experience these impacts less prominently than other women groups from developing economies in the global South.    

In general, gender inequality negatively affects women’s developmental growth and opportunities that can otherwise be utilised to tackle climate change and aggravate their existing social vulnerabilities, which has the capacity to exacerbate the impacts of climate change that they experience. Furthermore, to best assist women with their vulnerabilities, it's also necessary to understand what vulnerability means to them based on their cultural realities and societal designs. Hence, strategies to build climate change should prioritise the needs and rights of women and ensure their access to resources and decision-making power. In the long run, this will not only support well-being and empowerment of women but also contribute to more effective and equitable climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.  

With this background this Panel aims to :   

i) highlight the integral connection between climate change and gender injustices, and the need for gender-responsive climate action;  

ii) provide an avenue to discuss how law may be used as an engine to initiate transformation of the social systems and contribute to climate-resilient development for women; and  

iii) draw cross-jurisdictional lessons for both the global North and global and global South.   

Contact: Raihanatul Jannat, raihanatul.jannat@uef.fi,  PhD Candidate at University of Eastern Finland/Coordinator of the Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL), Ndimyake Mwalugaja, ndimyam@student.uef.fi, PhD Candidate at University of Eastern Finland.  

The panel stream Arctic, Gender and Change: Power of Relations and Law? seeks to put the Arctic region, and the changes that the people and land of the arctic are experiencing, center stage. Far from national and international centers of decision, policy and law-making, the Arctic region is becoming increasingly important for its geostrategic location, natural resources, and new potential trade routes. However, the Arctic region is also home, and a place of past and present struggles between cultures and over how we relate to each other and the earth. Given some of the challenges facing the region, it is easy to believe that the relations of exploitation and oppression will continue, but there are alternatives. Let us explore them.   

Contact: Sari Kouvo, sari.kouvo@law.gu.se, Associate Professor at the Department of Law at Gothenburg University. 

The separation of the Nordic majority churches from the Nordic states, administratively, economically, theoretically, implies a central dimension of legal separation. Also, the human rights understanding of religion as a field of collective organization, free from state law influence, and the social fact of a diversity of lived religious law, have impact not only on the members and leaders of the churches, but also on society in all. The transformation implies basic changes in the understanding of the law in the Nordic countries.   

Contact: Lisbet B. Christoffersen, lic@ruc.dk, professor of law & religion at Department of Society and Business, Roskilde University, and adjunct professor of Ecclesiastical Law at the Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen.   

A/The Creature is embedded in interactions intertwined with its fellow creatures and materialities, while also evolving by its own decision. I use the word Creature not to specifically align with any one approach: feminism, critical disability studies, de-colonial, queer, trans, posthuman, inter-species, intergenerational feminist scholarship, but to emphasize the indeterminacy of all of them, and more. The Creature is a host to other creatures, bacteria, viruses; it ingests and is being ingested. Humanity’s “progress”, which has resulted in myriad of unintended consequences, from contamination, often irreversible environmental damage, loss of species, as well as changes in species behaviour, is also testing its own capacities. It has suffered, it has been uprooted from its “natural” habitat, the habitat itself was destroyed, but the planet shining above it continues to exist objectively.  So, the Creature becomes a cyborg, a cosmo-body, instead of just a body with a damaged internal glitch, and hence goes beyond the perceived stereotype of a weakness, damage, disability, or even acceptance of “natural death”. It is interested in cosmos, as an illimitable expanse, that is not yet well known. This stream would therefore focus on the indeterminacy of humanity, and therefore all its different self-expressions rooted in gender, or otherwise.   

Contact: Elena Cirkovic, PhD, elena.cirkovic@mpi.lu, dr., Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law.

The nature of injustice is a central and recurrent theme in discussions regarding Law and Gender, as well as in contributions to Retfaerd, the Nordic Journal on Law and Society. In the Retfaerd stream we have chosen to focus on the nature of injustice with contributions very different legal empirical arenas, but all informed by Miranda Frickers concept of Epistemic Injustice (Fricker 2007). The point of departure in traditional legal studies tend to start from justice as the norm and injustice as a deviation. In contrast, Fricker builds upon the social fact that injustice is the norm. Accordingly, injustice is a more fruitful methodological starting point.     

Fricker focuses principally on two injustices: testimonial justice where the credibility attributed to a speaker’s assertion is reduced by prejudice of some kind, and hermeneutical injustice which builds upon insufficient shared concepts or interpretive tropes, owing to hermeneutical marginalization. Epistemic injustice results in wrongs of different kind. Primarily, one is wronged in the capacity as an epistemic subject, e.g. not being noticed, heard or listened to; capacities essential to distinctly human value. Secondly, wrong results in practical disadvantages; failing to convince a public authority, losing benefits etc.      

Contact: Lotta Wendel, lotta.wendel@mau.se, PhD, senior lecturer, Malmö University. 

In recent history, Nordic family law has changed from a force shoring up rigid gender roles into an instrument for the promotion of gender equality. This area of law has also gone from reinforcing the married heterosexual nuclear family to recognising different kinds of families to a greater extent. Assisted reproduction has further expanded the possibilities of what it means to form a family. This in turn has challenged traditional notions of who should or should not be considered a parent.  The recognition of same-sex and transgender families has resulted in the elaboration of gender-neutral regulations as well as new conceptions of parenthood that go beyond what has traditionally been conceived of as maternity and paternity. Another trend in family law is an increasing focus on human rights, specifically anti-discrimination, respect for private and family life, and the best interests of the child. At the same time there has been a conservative backlash, in the Nordic region and globally. A continuation of the development towards expansion and deepening of human rights that we have witnessed in recent decades cannot be taken for granted.  

One challenge for the future of family law and gender is the issue of surrogacy in relation to women's and children's rights. Another challenge is the question of gender neutrality in relation to the experiences of women and LGBTQI+ persons. Yet another is the existence of families with more than two partners or parents. The very definition and boundaries of family law are also in question - what relationships will be regarded as family and kinship relations in the future?  

Contact: Erik Mägi, erik.magi@law.gu.se, doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg, and Elin Jonsson, elin.jonsson@umu.se, LLD at Umeå University.  

Education is essential to prevention and elimination of men’s violence against women. Since 2018, the subject is mandatory in eight study programs at Swedish universities. The new mandate is regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100) and includes master programmes in Law at Swedish universities. Graduates are expected to meet victims of violence in their future work as lawyers and it’s therefore important that they are equipped with knowledge based on both practice and research. Different methods and approaches have been identified in the work of implementing the new mandate at Swedish universities.

Examples of proposals for the stream include, but are not limited to: 

  • Different and inspiring pedagogical approaches to teaching and examining law students on the subject of men’s violence against women.
  • Intersectional approaches to the subject of men’s violence against women, particularly with the focus on vulnerable groups.
  • New theoretical approaches to victimology and men’s violence against women.
  • Discourse on men’s violence against women and how that effects domestic law and/or policies and how to raise the question in a teaching situation.

Contact: Alexandra Lebedeva, Alexandra.lebedeva@nck.uu.se, Lecturer at the National Centre for Men’s Violence against Women (NCK), LL.M and PhD, Uppsala university.

The G-LPE stream addresses how gender shapes and impacts the legal regulation of markets and economic activity. This includes the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy, the role of the family in structuring social and economic norms, the gendered nature of economic governance and the fundamental and often invisible link between production and reproduction. We are especially interested in understanding the Nordic welfare model of capitalism and its constructions of gender equality and autonomy.  

The stream welcomes papers on topics related but not limited to:   

  • Gender and the regulation of work and care under globalization
  • The political economy of gender-related violence
  • Legal constructions of gender, sex, sexuality and the family
  • Gender and global governance processes, such as development, peacebuilding and financial restructuring
  • Gender in the welfare state 

Contact: Maj Grasten, mg.bhl@cbs.dk, Assistant Professor in Law and Governance, Department of Business Humanities and Law, Copenhagen Business School 

Law’s violence is a well-recognised dimension of law; the violence of law is associated with the penal system and the enforcement of law, or with the withdrawal of status, benefits, and effective access to justice as well as law’s inability to address massive scale harms and law’s contribution to different forms of exploitation. (E.g. Benjamin 1978; Cover 1986; Derrida 1990; Matsuda 1987; Veitch 2007.) This stream addresses a less discussed aspect of law’s violence: the way in which legal norms and practices touch, form, mold and discipline our physical bodies. The stream studies experiences of intersectional violence from the perspective of the gendered body and asks how intersectional violence works to isolate and silence gendered bodies by making them invisible or forcing them into public examination. The intertwining of discursive and physical, of legal and medical, and of legal and political, for instance, (re)produces the ways in which we experience ourselves in our physical bodies, how we are experienced by others as bodily beings, and normatively circumscribes our physical existence in the world. The intersectional violence produced in the epistemic, discursive, and disciplinary practices of different regimes both produces and destroys us as autonomous beings. For this stream, we welcome empirical and conceptual analyses based on different research traditions as well as presentations based on, for example, artistic expressions or activism. We encourage participants to rethink legal tradition’s onto-epistemological assumptions, including those on subjectivity and objectivity, for example through autoethnographic contributions.  Our stream responds to the overarching conference theme ‘Past-Present-Future’ by inviting contributions that focus on the temporal elements of violence and trauma and / or engage with the present and future challenges of law in dealing with gendered violence and trauma as well as the histories and legacies of Nordic women’s law and law and gender in the Nordics.  

Contact: Dr. Sanna Mustasaari, sanna.mustasaari@uef.fi, Senior Researcher, UEF Law School, Finland; Dr. (Docent) Kati Nieminen, kati.nieminen@helsinki.fi, University Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Helsinki University, Finland 

This stream will discuss various cases of visible and invisible gender-based discrimination through representations and mediations derived from legal precedents, historical case-studies, language, art, and tradition. From medieval monsters and witches to modern language of law, trials based on words, mediated culture, symbolism of hierarchies, and gender justice activism and far-right resistance to it. The stream aims to combine perspectives of history, cultural studies, gender studies and law. We warmly invite papers on relevant topics from sister disciplines. Examples of proposals for the stream include, but are not limited to: 

  • Direct and indirect threats to gender equality in Nordics: the heritage of witch hunt as a metaphor for women’s rights infringement 
  • Historical and modern symbolism in relation to legal hierarchies in relation to gender, race and species-Invisible discrimination in the language of law in the past and future  
  • (In)visibility of gender in languages and the legal consequences-Women lost in translation (female representations in languages with and without grammatical gender) 
  • Effects of language on the outcomes of court trials and/or policies (#jagvetvadsnippanär) 
  • Representations of women and LGBTQI+ community in culture and how it affects Nordic migration law/policies 
  • Art and gender: the effects and causes of the public perceptions related to the legal sphere-Resistance to equality and Nordic moral exceptionalism  
  • Gender equality activism and anti-discrimination policies in the Nordics (or the lack there of)

Contact: Ekaterina Markovich (law, UTU), ekmark@utu.fi 

This stream brings together scholars and scholarship at the intersection of law, gender and the animal. Following the seminal work of Carol J. Adams (The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990), and Animals and women: Feminist theoretical explorations (1995, with Josephine Donovan), and the ‘turn’ to critical animal jurisprudence in law and its scholarship (e.g. Yoriko Otomo & Edward Mussawir (eds) Law and the Question of the Animal A Critical Jurisprudence (2013)) the questions for this stream include (but are not limited to): Gendered and legal interspecies relations in the Anthropocene; Human-nonhuman kinship/Non-natalist normativities (make kins, not babies!); Embodied experiences and the ordering of animality; Animal subjectivity and rights; The laws and norms of trans-species (medical) intersections: transplants, implants, and chimerism; Non-human law/Non-human jurisprudence; Normativities of veganism/cannibalism; Animal welfare and its laws; Colonial gender and animal relations (in the Nordics); The animal ‘other’ in Nordic law and jurisprudence. 

Contact: Håkan Gustafsson, hakan.gustafsson@law.gu.se, professor in jurisprudence at Department of Law, University of Gothenburg. 

Past - present – future.

More information will be added.

Contact: Moa Bladini, moa.bladini@law.gu.se, senior lecturer, Department of Law, University of Gothenburg 

In this stream we welcome papers that do not fit in under the other streams.

Contact: Erik Björling, erik.bjorling@law.gu.se, senior lecturer, Department of Law, University of Gothenburg.

Are you working on a paper, book chapter, essay, book proposal, or funding application and are in need of feedback? We welcome PhD and Early Career Researchers (ECR) participants to submit an abstract for a written paper (max. 200 words). Authors of accepted abstracts will later be asked to submit full papers (max. 8000 words) in advance of the conference. The full texts will be available only to other writers’ workshop participants and designated senior scholars acting as discussants within this stream. Each paper will have an assigned participant reader, as well as a senior scholar reader, and will be discussed together with other written papers as part of the writers’ workshop. We encourage PhD and ECR scholars to take the opportunity to have their papers read and discussed. All participants in this stream will be asked to present someone else’s paper: you will thus not present your own paper. As part of the writers’ workshop, participants will be provided with a template to structure and present their reading of, and feedback on, others’ work. 

Contact: Matilda Arvidsson, matilda.arvidsson@law.gu.se, associate professor (docent) in international law, assistant senior lecturer in jurisprudence, Department of Law, University of Gothenburg. 

Daniela Alaattinoğlu presents her recently published book, followed by comments by Professor Anne Hellum (University of Oslo) and Associate Professor Sari Kouvo (University of Gothenburg). 
In the last century, the treatment of victims of involuntary sterilisation and castration in Nordic countries has varied drastically from state to state, across time and victim groups. Considering why this is the case, Daniela Alaattinoğlu investigates how laws and practices of involuntary, surgical sterilisation and castration have been established, abolished and remedied in three Nordic states: Sweden, Norway and Finland, over the last 100 years. Developing the concept of grievance formation, the book explores why some states have claimed public responsibility while others have not, and why some victim groups have mobilised while others have remained silent. Alaattinoğlu illuminates issues of human and constitutional rights, the evolution of the welfare state and state responsibility in both national and global contexts.   

Contact: Daniela Alaattinoğlu, daniela.alaattinoglu@utu.fi, Assistant Professor, Docent of Socio-legal Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Turku 

The authors present the recently published book, followed by comments by Leila Brännström, senior lecturer, Department of Law, University of Gothenburg.  

Contact: Anne Hellum, anne.hellum@jus.uoi.no, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. 

Book Launch Panel: Gender and law: women’s, gender and equality perspectives in legal education [Kjønn og rett: Kvinne-, kjønns- og likestillingsperspektiver i jusstudiet] (Eds. Ingunn Ikdahl, Anne Hellum, John Asland, Herman Bruserud, Maria Astrup Hjort, Bjørk Gudmundsdottir Jonassen, May-Len Skilbrei 

The authors present the recently published book, followed by comments by Stine Jørgensen.  

Contact: Anne Hellum, anne.hellum@jus.uoi.no, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo.

Abstract should be sent via email to the convener of the respective streams by June 30, 2023. If you are unsure of which stream is the better fit for you, please send your abstract to the general stream. The general stream convenors will help assign your abstract. Please note that your abstract may be assigned to a different stream than your first choice, due to availability and overall planning of the conference schedule.

You will be notified of the convener’s decision at the latest in early August, 2023. NB: Don’t forget to register for the conference – an accepted paper is not a registration!


Organizing committee

Matilda Arvidsson
Moa Bladini
Wanna Svedberg Andersson
Eva-Maria Svensson



Deadline for registration is September 1, 2023. The registration link will take you to a Microsoft Form on a new page.

Practical information

The conference starts at 10 am, October 25th and ends at 2 pm, October 27th.

Below you find contact information to accommodation with special conference prices.

Elite Park Hotel
Use this link to make a reservation with special conference price, Law and Gender Conference 

Hotel Poseidon
Make a reservation via e-mail info@hotelposeidon.com. Use the reference 233066 or ”Nordic Law and Gender conference” to get the special conference price.