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Malin Gustavsson

Malin Johanna Christina Gustavsson
Born May 31, 1978, Hammerland, Åland Islands

Master of Arts (Women’s Studies), 2006, University of Helsinki
Bachelor of Politics (Political Science), 2008, Åbo Akademi

Managing Director, Founder and Owner 2008-, Ekvalita Ltd
Course organiser, 2007-14, Åbo Akademi and University of Helsinki
Equalities Officer, 2010-11, Folkhälsan
Schools project leader, equal opportunities, 2009-10, Folkhälsan
Project Leader, 2007-09, Folkhälsan
Consultant, equality and diversity (self-employed), 2006-2008

Areas of expertise and awards
Developing methods to promote gender equality and diversity
Gender equality as a part of practical daily work
Organisational leadership, development of strategies and work flows
Svenska Kulturfonden (Swedish cultural fund) award for work with children and young people

Photo: Johan Karrento
Written by Malin Gustavsson and Kaija Hartikainen (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My best memories of the University of Helsinki

This may sound a little clichéd, but I find it difficult to come up with one single best memory from the time that I was doing my Master’s studies in Women’s Studies at the University of Helsinki. I was talked into attending a women’s studies course in Turku, and I was and there was no looking back.

In my study years at Åbo Akademi I discovered women’s studies and feminism, stepped into a new Finnish Swedish community, becoming an academic and an activist. The University of Helsinki was a pathway to finding new career opportunities and aiming for new goals in my personal life and in the development of my academic career. My study mates and I made our contribution to Finnish history by attending a new Master’s degree programme.

I was among the first to graduate from a subject which forms the basis of gender equality development. The Nordic countries are world-famous for equality and like to be profiled like that, but Finland had never previously had an academic Master’s degree programme in women’s studies.

I had indeed been waiting all along during my studies to get to the Master’s programme in women’s studies. I wanted to become an expert in the field and felt that the only way to have information, support and gain an in-depth understanding was to study women’s studies as a main subject. However, many of my fellow students at Åbo Akademi believed that studying women’s studies might have a negative impact on their employment prospects. I thought it very sad that students thought that way.

The stereotypical presumptions related to gender as well as the roles of gender in career development have also been prominent in my work. It is important that the effect of gender in educational choices and recruitment is recognised and that there is information available in order to promote change for the better.

One of my many memories is when I made a phone call to my dear study friend in Turku and found out that one of my two thesis supervisors was going to be a scholar who would know everything about gender equality at the municipal level in Finland. She was Anne Maria Holli, nowadays a professor at the University of Helsinki.

Coming originally from the Åland islands and then from the Swedish-speaking Faculty of Economy and Social Sciences at Åbo Akademi, I have felt that stepping into the Finnish-speaking humanities study environment has been an achievement with plenty of challenges. The challenges have not always had anything to do with language, but more the differences between the two faculties and the interdisciplinary nature of women’s studies as a subject.

As my language skills improved, I found friends and also colleagues, widening my network of co-operation in entirely new ways and directions. My strongest memory from these two years will always be the feeling of having overcome so many obstacles and challenges, and having created new career possibilities.

Photo: Sven-Åke Gustavsson.​
Photo: Sven-Åke Gustavsson.​


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