Standing out among gender-focused groups, organisations, initiatives and networks focused on the Arctic region is the IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic network (IASSA WG GiA). With its roots within gender studies scholarship, the IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic seeks to highlight gender and queer issues in Arctic research within the largest organization for social scientists within the area, the IASSA (International Association of Arctic Social Scientists). Amongst its aims are a desire to help identify the state of the art in gender driven Arctic research and gender studies in the Arctic and to identify relations between global Gender Studies and gender themes in the Arctic.

The IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic provides a positive space for dialogue and raises awareness about wider gender and queer issues within the social sciences, but also seeks to reach out to the natural sciences for interdisciplinary conversations. The network is led by an international team of scholars. These scholars are: Dr. Gertrude Saxinger (University of Vienna), Professor Otto Habeck (University of Hamburg), Dr. Katariina Kyrölä (Abo Akademi University), Dr. Stephan Dudeck (European University St. Petersburg, Professor Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv (UiT The Arctic University of Norway) and Professor Rauna Kuokkanen (University of Lapland). The steering group always welcomes new faces who want to push the network further or who want to curate new topics to be addressed by the WG.

Gender and Intersectionality in Arctic Research
(Private photo used with permission)

The team of scholars spear-heading the network have organized events (such as the one-day kick-off event in 2017 at the ICASS IX conference in Umea, Sweden) to help raise the profile of gender and queer issues, such as holding a one-day symposium in Oulu, Finland, in conjunction with the UArctic congress in 2018. As part of its aim to encourage inclusion of voices and perspectives, the event provided funding for indigenous activists with no institutional affiliation and early career scholars.  Upcoming, the network plans to run two events in 2020: one in Arkhangelsk, Russia and one in Akureyri, Iceland. For more information on these events as it becomes available, visit

In addition to its public events, the IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic is also participating in the Gender Equality in the Arctic network’s work to informally bring together various groups, organisations, initiatives and networks working on aspects of gender promotion in the Arctic region to spark awareness amongst regional actors and identify possible areas for cooperation in the pursuit of promoting gender equality. Through its participation in the Gender Equality in the Arctic dialogue, the IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic is widening its connections and helping to raise awareness about its work on gender and queer issues and that of fellow gender networks and organizations. The WG also works on gendered methodology in (interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary) research, Polar research history, discrimination and racialized conditions of work as researchers.

Furthermore, the IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic taps into its own following to promote dialogue and information exchange amongst its participants. A key tool at its disposal is its mailing list. The mailing list is open to all. If you are interested in signing up to the mailing list, visit here.

If you would like to learn more about the IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic, its mailing list, upcoming events, and how to get in touch with the group, please visit

Note: Permission sought and granted for the use of the IASSA logo with this piece.

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