What is gender?

Gender is about …

… how people become women and men

People are not born as women or men; they become them. To understand how this works, the concept of gender is the most important tool we have. The concept grew out of a critique of women’s and men’s living conditions otherwise are declared by simplifying references to bodily differences. Instead of drawing attention to the biological sex, gender has come to be used to describe the social, cultural and historically variation in what it means to be male or female.

… relationships

Through the gender concept it is emphasized that women and men are not men and women of themselves, but will be in relation to the society they live in and to the culture they are a part of. It is a concept that highlights the social conditions that shape women’s and men’s opportunities and influence their behavior patterns. It stresses the importance of the myths, metaphors and stories that create expectations of women and men, and circumscribing their choice of values.


Gender is a concept that have been able to make visible that the differences between men and women on a more basic level are often differences in power; men as a group live their lives benefited by being male, while women as a group live their lives by overcoming the resistance they encounter because they are female. Continue reading “What is gender?”

Handbook for EUSBSR beginners

Tillvaxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, has produced a beginner’s guide to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The document includes information on the common objectives that the region is striving to achieve and the different ways people can contribute and work on a project.

You can download the “Handbook for EUSBSR beginners.pdf” at the EUSBSR (EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region) webpage www.balticsea-region.eu

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. It aims at reinforcing cooperation within this large region in order to face several challenges by working together as well as promoting a more balanced development in the area. The Strategy also contributes to major EU policies and reinforces the integration within the area.

The EU Baltic Sea region counts 85 million inhabitants (17 percent of EU population) and eight countries (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) which share common features and challenges. Hence there is a clear need for joining forces and working in cooperation. Against this background, the Strategy intends to increase the levels of environmental sustainability, prosperity, accessibility and attractiveness and safety and security.

XII Baltic Sea NGO Forum in Turku 2-3 June 2014

During the first week of June 2014, Turku will be the venue of major maritime, business and cultural events. Baltic Sea NGO Forum is one part of the Turku Baltic Sea Days. During the week there will be a number of meetings on different levels.

NGOs Creating an Active and Innovative Civil Society

The annual Baltic Sea NGO Forum is organised by Baltic Sea NGO Network. The purpose of the network is to support the civil society in the Baltic Sea area.

See the full program at http://www.bsngoforum.net/content/program

BalticFem will attend the XII Baltic Sea NGO Forum on behalf of Winnet Sweden.

Women participation in politics in the spotlight in Skopje – MY EU international conference

Skopje, Macedonia

The international conference “Women participation in Politics” took place in Skopje from the 8th to the 11th of December 2013.

This 3-day forum was in the framework of “My EUROPE” project, where ALDA is partner, and  is the third event after the one held in Brescia in February 2013 and the second held in Strasbourg in June 2012, and organised by ALDA. My EU is a project supported by the programme “Europe for Citiziens”.

The Coalition of youth organizations SEGA, lead by Zoran Ilieski in cooperation with the Women Organization of the Municipality of Sveti Nikole were the local organizers of the event. ALDA’s contribution was key to the success of the event: the communication officer of the association Irene Zanetti participated, and the intervention by Asa Albinsson from BalticFem was remarkable, because she brought to the participants the 30-year-experience of the Swedish association in gender equality. BalticFem is not partner of the project, but an active partner of ALDA’s network.

The final speech of the event was delivered by Liliana Popovska, Chair of the Committee of Equal Opportunities of Macedonia. She closed the meeting with the notable statement: “When we discuss how to improve women participation to the political life, we should speak of evolution, not of revolution”.

Se pictures of the event on Facebook

Se the TV coverage of the event on ALFA TV and on 24 VESTI (in Macedonian)

Read more about the project “My EUROPE“.

(article from ALDA)


About ALDA

The Association of Local Democracy Agencies is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of good governance and citizen participation at the local level. ALDA in particular focuses on activities that facilitate cooperation between local authorities and civil society.

ALDA was established in 1999 at the initiative of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to coordinate and support a network of Local Democracy Agencies which was established in the early 1990s. It remains one of its supporting programmes. It is the umbrella organisation of the Local Democracy Agencies which are self-sustainable, locally registered NGOs that act as promoters of good governance and local self-government.

ALDA is a membership based organisation gathering more than 150 members (including Local Authorities, Associations of Local Authorities and non-governmental organisations) coming from more than 30 countries. ALDA is funded through membership fees and project funding from the European Commission, the Council of Europe and other public and private donors.

Read more at www.alda-europe.eu 

Visit from l’Amicale du Nid

On the 11th to the 13th of February 2013 BalticFem received a delegation from the French NGO, L´Amicale Du Nid (www.adn-asso.org ), AdN.  In  total  11 representatives  from the AdN and one representative of the Canadian organisation La Maison de Marthe came to Sweden and Stockholm to learn more about the Swedish work against sex trafficking and prostitution.


AdN has eight different support centers in France working with women, young people, men and transsexuals who ended or risk ending up in prostitution. Their support centers are staffed with social workers, psychologists and sociologists, but also conduct outreach work in the field. AdN also works with information and training aimed at young people, politicians, teachers, civil servants, social workers, teachers and staff in the care sector.

L’Amicale Du Nid has its roots in an organisation that was formed in 1901, but has existed in its present form since 1946. The organisation’s premise is that prostitution and trafficking is a form of violence and oppression that violates personal dignity and integrity. They are keen to get a law in France that is similar to the current Swedish.

During their visit to Stockholm, the group got to meet members of the Swedish Gender Equality Minister’s political staff, Stockholm police section against human trafficking and prostitution, NGO 1000 Mojligheter, The municipality of Stockholm´s prostitution unit and Caritas Sweden, a of part of the ecumenical network against human trafficking.

Quadruple Helix reports

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:7 (swedish)

Quadruple Helix som metod för att främja kvinnors företagande

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:6

Documentaion of Study visits within the Quadruple project and
Benchlearning report

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:5

Empowering women’s entrepreneurship – to establish bottom-up innovation systems. The case of cycling tourism in Norrtälje region.

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:4

Dissemination conference 29-30 August 2011, Kärdla, Hiiumaa

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:3

A Gender Equal Cluster initiative – practical experiences from the Quadruple Helix project.

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:2

Bridging the gender gap in entrepreneurship through NGO’s. A study of a Quadruple Helix innovation system project in the Baltic Sea region

Quadruple Helix reports 2011:1

A Study of the Conditions for Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Estonian Entrepreneurial Environment

Quadruple Helix reports 2010:6

A framework for the integration of a gender perspecitve in cross-border entrepreneurship and cluster promotion programmes.

Quadruple Helix reports 2010:5

The gender and entrepreneurship gap in Estonia, Finland and Sweden

Quadruple Helix reports 2010:4

The role of NGOs in supporting women’s entrepreneurship. A study of a Quadruple Helix project in the Baltic sea region.

Quadruple Helix reports 2010:3

Notions of gender in contextual interviews. Workpackage report.

Quadruple Helix reports 2010:2

Cluster promotion and mobile services for the tourism industry.
Seminar report.

Quadruple Helix reports 2010:1

Women, Innovation, Social networking. Search conference report.

QH app MobiTourist Now available on both iPhone and Android devices

Quadruple Helix app MobiTourist: discover Turku Archipelago, Roslagen and West Estonia is now available on both AppStore (iPhone) and Google Market (Android).

The iPhone app is available online at the following link: http://goo.gl/dlfbt

You can get a iPhone app QR Code to print and share at the following link: http://goo.gl/dlfbt.qr

The Android app is available online at the following link: http://goo.gl/CcqGi

You can get a Andoid app QR Code to print and share at the following link: http://goo.gl/CcqGi.qr

Be aware that URL are case sensitive, if you plan to copy them.

Quadruple Helix closing

On 31 December 2011, the project Quadruple Helix Central Baltic was completed. Participated did eight partners in three countries. The project has resulted in a mobile application, a local tourism venture on the bike paths in Roslagen and dozens of very interesting reports on women’s entrepreneurship, clusters and equality in the Baltic region.

You can read more about the results on the project website www.balticfem.com/quadruple

Workshop: How to promote female entrepreneurship and clustering?

Results of their group works were as follows:

Group I

  • Bottom up start. It’s important to know what entrepreneurs need. What do they think is important?
  • Interested parties, actors shall join from the beginning. There were too many ideas and objectives from the beginning, quite unclear
  • “one spider in the web” –necessary to have a project coordinator, one leader who can push forward everything
  • For support structure – listen to the entrepreneurs
  • It’s important to be more flexible
  • Start from existing platform which should be developed further and then build from there
  • The process should be less bureaucratic

Group II

  • Important to have a common webpage which can serve as a platform. A good example is: www.visitestonia.ee in six languages as well as a mobile guide. This website is a web based platform. Through this platform marketing and clustering is possible. The biggest problem is funding. Sometimes funds can even “decide” a direction of activities (what you can do and what you can’t do)
  • Example, NGO Läänemaa Tourism – they have a website, local organisations are members of a big Lääme Eesti islands.

The groups came to the conclusion that in all three countries clustering is on different stages. In Estonia: at one location entrepreneurs cooperate with each other. The smaller the place is the more difficult is it with clustering. For example, one hotel is full and a tourist is not directed to another hotel. At another location (Saaremaa), entrepreneurs cooperate with targets but not with each other. At a third location there is a problem to get entrepreneurs’ services. Nature is for tourism but if one wants tourists to come back one should offer them something more than just nature, for example a proper catering (catering is in a bad stage). Entrepreneurs complain that there is no incentive for them to provide their services. Here clustering is essential; entrepreneurs should cooperate with each other (one offers dinner, second –lunch etc).