Women’s Studies at Åbo Akademi University in Finland under threat

Universities in Finland, as elsewhere, are under considerable financial pressure. Åbo Akademi University, the only Swedish speaking university, in bilingual Finland is planning to let the women’s studies unit take the hit regarding the cuts of the whole Department of Social Sciences, that consists of six disciplines.

The reason given for concentrating the cuts on women’s studies is that the two fixed-term budget-financed positions, which first come to an end at the Department, happen to both be in women’s studies. In other words, if both of these two positions are drawn in, women’s studies only has ONE budget-funded position – the professor. In practice, Åbo Akademi University is hence planning to run down the only Swedish-speaking women’s studies unit in Finland.

Alternative possibilities for these cuts exist: it is possible, for example, to lay off all the budget-funded personnel at the Department for less than three weeks in order to avoid any cuts in the total number of researcher and teaching positions at the Department.

Women’s studies at Åbo Akademi University is committed to postcolonial feminist studies, queer and transgender studies, feminist science studies, cultural studies, and to a critical analysis of all power relations, including gendered, sexualised, racialised, economic, age-related, religion-related and other power relations.

We who sign this petition value this research commitment. We suggest that the proposed alternative measures are taken to realise the cuts in government funding and propose that the future of this critical research and teaching unit is guaranteed by budget funding at Åbo Akademi University. Hence also teaching in these areas in Swedish also in Finland will be guaranteed.


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