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Exploring Gendered Dimensions of Welfare in China and the Nordic Region

On 25-29 March 2019 the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies convened a workshop at the Danish Cultural Centre in Beijing on Gender in Welfare Solutions.


Both China and the Nordic countries view gender equality as a social justice issue and are politically committed towards achieving gender equality nationally and internationally. The aim of the workshop was to showcase the importance of gender perspectives in solutions to new societal and economic challenges facing the two regions. The workshop provided a platform for exchange, sharing, and learning among gender studies scholars from China and the Nordic countries with a view to supporting and developing commitment to gender equality and social justice in relation to the Sino-Nordic exchange with a particular focus on `welfare solutions' which is one of the five areas of the 2017 Sino-Nordic exchange. The workshop focused on the separate contexts of China and the Nordic countries and on areas where China and the Nordic countries are interconnected.


In view of the increasing connections between China and the Nordic countries as part of the Belt and Road Initiative and the increasing economic and political influence of China globally it is important for scholars from both China and the Nordic countries to expand the scholarship of how `welfare solutions' are defined and practiced in the different contexts, and to join forces in maintaining the importance of including gender perspectives and gender equality standards in academic knowledge production in both China and the Nordic countries and to convey this knowledge to the parties involved in the nation state level Sino-Nordic cooperation. For China based scholars, experiences from the history of social democratic welfare in Nordic countries may also be useful in relation to `welfare solutions' in China and to China's engagement in the global South.


The workshop was held at the Danish Cultural Centre in Beijing. The Center fosters mutual understanding between people and cultures. Its parent organization, the Danish Cultural Institute is a self-governing institution under the Danish Ministry of Culture. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC the Centre's 2019 thematic focus is on gender and gender equality.


The workshop was convened by Dr Cecilia Milwertz, Senior Researcher, the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, the University of Copenhagen. The workshop drew on connections and collaborations between gender studies scholars from China and the Nordic countries made over the past fifteen years within the framework of the Sino-Nordic Gender Studies Network


The network, which was co-initiated by and is coordinated by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), was established in 2002 when a conference was held at Fudan University. Since then a conference has been held every three years alternately in China and one of the Nordic countries. The latest conference was held at the University of Oslo in August 2017. The workshop builds on this experience and aim to engage scholars from China and the Nordic countries in collaboration that goes beyond academic exchange in itself to also include recommendations to nation state actors engaged in Sino-Nordic collaboration.

 

A report based on the findings of the workshop was produced under the title Gendered Dimensions of Welfare in China and the Nordic Region. Feminist transformations, visions and recommendations. The report is available for download here.