Comparing China and the Nordic countries
The aim of the Sino-Nordic Women & Gender Studies conferences is to develop trans-national, cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary perspectives on studies of women and gender within and between the Chinese and Nordic environments. The conferences include both theoretical and policy relevant research.
The conferences are organized by the Nordic Centre, Fudan University, China and NIAS and take place alternately in collaboration with a Chinese or Nordic host institution.
- The first conference on the theme of Gender and Politics was held at Fudan University, Shanghai in November 2001.
- The second conference on Gender and Human Rights in China and the Nordic Countries was held at Malmö University, Sweden, August 2005.
A selection of papers from the conference was published in the book Gender Equality, Citizenship and Human Rights. Controversies and Challenges in China and the Nordic countries.
- The third conference, Gender at the Interface of the Global and the Local – Perspectives from China and the Nordic Countries, was hosted by the Gender and Participation Research Centre, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences. See reports in ENGLISH and in CHINESE.
- The fourth conference will be held in Denmark in 2012.
By gathering scholars from China and the Nordic countries and by engaging in cross-cultural comparisons, the conferences aim to facilitate constructive and thought-provoking dialogues and discussions. Unquestioned assumptions may be challenged and stimulus provided to view one’s own society from alternative perspectives.
The Nordic countries and China differ in many ways, but there are also similarities. It could be argued that there are greater similarities between China and the Nordic countries – such as the strong and interventionist role of the state – than there are between China and the USA, for instance. Another similarity between China and the Nordic countries is a strong political commitment to creating gender equality, as well as the high degree of cooperation between women’s organizations and the state. On the other hand, there are obviously also many differences regarding the ways in which the state intervenes in people’s lives, and in the extent to which gender equality has been achieved. These differences and similarities are related to the legal, political, social and economic systems of China and the Nordic countries, and to the global context in which they operate. Regarding studies of women and gender, the topics addressed in the Nordic countries and in China, and the methodologies and theoretical approaches that are used also partially overlap. Many Chinese and Nordic researchers use theories that originate from other contexts. These theories have then been indigenized into something Chinese or Nordic. But how is this done in practice? And what are the consequences of acceptance or rejection of ‘foreign’ theories?