Hege Skjeie

Hege Skjeie is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo. Her career demonstrates both a  commitment to scholarly advancement but also to public engagement and she has taken an active role in advocating for gender equality; in 2000 she became the first woman appointed to a full professorship in political science in Norway.

Hege's innovative research on ethnicity, diversity and intersectionality, human rights law and policy, and political representation, power and elite politics has contributed to advance the theoretical thinking of European gender and politics research. One major contribution is her research on the intersections of gender, ethnicity and religion in the Nordic and European institutions, for example in the path-breaking and collaborative project on institutionalizing intersectionality and the changing nature of European Equality Regimes (see the book Institutionalizing Intersectionality, 2012). Another major contribution is her research within in the field of human rights’ law and policy. Analyzing the role of individual human rights, including religious rights, she coined the provocative concept ‘likestillingens vikeplikt’ referring to the fact that women’s equal rights must often make way for other more important concerns, published first in the Power and Democracy Commissions book series in Skjeie and Teigen (2003), Menn imellom, Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk; then in Skjeie and Teigen (2005), «Political constructions of gender equality: "Travelling towards … a gender balanced society"». NORA Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies. Vol. 13. No. 3, 187-197; and in Skjeie (2007). "Religious exemptions to equality", Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 10(4):471- 490.

The results of her empirical work have had a profound influence on the Norwegian policies and public debates on (gender) equality and democracy, for example as the powerful Chair of the Norwegian Government’s Equality Commission, the Skjeie-commission (2010-2012), and main responsible for the official equality reports, criticizing the dominant mainstreaming policy as a failure unable to solve the problems related to the gender division of work and gender stereotyping in education and on the labour market. The equality reports presented a holistic and multidimensional approach to gender equality, which is now generally accepted.

In recent years she has initiated and managed several large projects to establish intersectional studies in Norway financed by the Norwegian Research Council: PLUREQ - Gender equality, cultural diversity, religious pluralism: State policies and feminist interventions; DEMROK- Democracy, freedom of religion and women’s human rights; and together with Mari Teigen; MULTIDIM – Multidimensional equality: Legislative reforms and judicial practices. She has also held several public positions; as a Member of the Standing Committee on Outside Political Appointments (2009-2017) (Karantene-nemnda), which decides on interim periods for former cabinet ministers, state secretaries and political advisers when they leave public office for private sector jobs/appointments; of the Centennial for women’s vote committee (2009-2013) (Stemmerettskomiteen); and of the Equality Tribunal (2006-2010) (Likestillings- og diskrimineringsnemnda), monitoring all Norwegian non-discrimination and equality legislation (four comprehensive laws). In addition she has written commentaries for the leading Norwegian financial newspaper (Dagens Næringsliv) sharing a weekly column with the Prime Minister, the leader of the main opposition party and two professors in economics, mainly dealing with human rights, integration, and equality policy issues.

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