Some of our group members participated the annual Finnish Educational Research Association (FERA) Conference on Educational Research 2015, held in Vaasa, Western Finland.

In Åbo Akademi, as Swedish university, the bilingualism was strongly visible in presentations and symposiums. This was a good reminder of both national languages present in Finnish academic world.

Also in the main panel discussion, one of four depater spoke Swedish. Moreover, she was the only woman in the panel. Luckily, the panel did not deserve the ”Congrats, you have an all male panel!” wishes with the “thumbs up” from the Knight Rider1. Still, this distribution is quite interesting in the field, where the great majority of students, researchers, other academic staff and practitioners are women. And especially, when the task of the panelists is to determine the situation, development and future of educational science.

The depaters were asked “If the Nobel prize would be awarded in education, to whom it should be given?”.  Only male candidates were proposed. Was this a mere coincidence or a sign of continuing tendency of male dominance as the top experts, scientists and “gurus”, who define the field already for newcomers in the required reeding in exams?

On the other hand, we may dig deeper. Why do we raise and award individuals and single performances? Why do we demand academic actors (and encourage women in particular) to pursue career ladder, top positions, name and success? Does this blur the collective nature and the meaning of cooperation in scientific work?

The Nobel prize in education is quite an interesting thought. But instead of individuals, could we award collectives, mutual successes, occupational groups in the grass-root level, research networks, theories or ideas that have developed the field or, above all, made the educational world a better place? We could follow the lead of Nobel Peace Prize, awarded 2015 to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia. Perhaps in such cases the female share might be more visible too.

1http://allmalepanels.tumblr.com/

A blog, where the image of David Hasselhoff congratulates the photos of all male panels. Ph.D. Saara Särmä started the blog in 2015.

 

Our presentation in the theme group “Creating equality or marketising the self: whose hopes is education fulfilling?”

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