About Gendering Smart Mobilities in the Nordic Region – Københavns Universitet

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About Gendering Smart Mobilities in the Nordic Region

Gendering Smart Mobilities in the Nordic Region aims at linking three important, but so far separated fields of knowledge and research, environmental, transport and gender research. All fields represent recent interdisciplinary innovations and developments in the field of knowledge production democracy and social responsibility. Besides the initiative meets the call for gender mainstreaming, that has been carried both by the EU and by Nordic Council of Ministers and Equality legislation.

This project aims at strengthening and proliferating Nordic Co-operation and models, and to contribute to a paradigm shift in overall transport planning and practices. Departing from the prevailing idea of smart, green and integrated transport’ the overall objective is to contribute to a new Nordic model of sustainable transport, mobility and gender equality.

How can gendering new modes of transport and mobility make change happen? And how can such an approach contribute to systems and practices that are resource-efficient, climate- and environmentally-friendly?

Hanson and Sheller (Hanson 2009, Sheller 2004) have argued for more overall approaches to transport research and the need of addressing and deconstructing core ideas of genderless models of choice, and individuality in quantitative surveys and modelling. Others have argued for more explorative and interdisciplinary approaches in contrast to the instrumental quantitative studies promoted by governments. ( Aldred et al 2015). At present a few, distinctive Nordic studies of men and car culture have provided findings showing that cars have been co-producers of gender and that they have reinforced the symbolic link between men, masculinity and machines. (Balkmar 2012:16, Landström 2006). Moreover, they contend that the symbolic link between men, masculinity and cars is a cultural phenomenon that is continuously (re)produced in varied ways in cultural meaning-making (cf. Dahl, Henriksson & Levin, 2012).

So far existing, but scattered studies at Nordic and European levels have pointed to transport and mobility as producing gendered stereotypes, and how notions of men and masculinity are being linked with speed and mobility; by contrast women and femininity are seen as synonymous with immobility and aligned with home and domesticity. This seems to be an enduring feature that surfaces in everyday practices as well as in multiple cultural and political forms. It is evident that such ideas, support the unequal distribution of resources and unsustainable modes of transport, for example in prioritizing of cars, rather than public transportation and non-motorized transport, and hampers the recognition of different kinds of mobility in planning and research. (Christaldi 2005; Grieco et al. 1989; Hjorthol 1990, 1998, 2000; Næss 2007; Polk 2004).

When looking at the interfacing field of transport, gender and sustainability from a research and policy perspective, it turns out to be a vital but also neglected issue. Moreover it is lacking knowledge production of gender equality in family, workplace, health and education both at the Nordic and international levels.

Gendering smart Mobilities in the Nordic Region thus connects to and create synergies between a range of vital, but scattered Nordic and EU wide projects and research areas with potentials for innovative and cross cutting solutions for transport, such as Gender Equality and Climate Change, EIGE Report (2012 )Gendered Innovations project, (2013) as well as the Gendering Transport and Mobility workshop at the Nordic Forum in Malmø 2013. The current partners in this project have either been PIs or contributed to these and numerous other projects.