AOIFE Mid-term Report, January 2001 - July 2002

By Nina Lykke and Berit Starkman


Following the recommendation of the AOIFE Council and the decisions of the General Assembly in Bologna September 2000, the AOIFE secretariat was moved from Oslo Univer-sity to Linkoeping University, Sweden, in January 2001, because the former host NIKK (Nordic Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Research) wanted another university to take over. The new host, the interdisciplinary Department of Gender Studies, Linkoeping University, offered to volunteer, and Council and General Assembly accepted the offer.

The rector of Linkoeping University officially opened the new secretariat in June 2001 in the presence of the AOIFE Council, Linkoeping University staff, students and invited guests.

A managing director, Nina Lykke, and an administrative co-ordinator, Berit Starkman, staff the new secretariat.

This report will cover the activities of AOIFE during the Secretariat's first one and a half year period, from January 2001 to July 2002. It is a mid-term-report, i.e. marking the mid-term between the General Assembly in Bologna in September 2000 and the next General Assembly which will take place in Lund, Sweden, August 2003 in connection with the 5th European Feminist Research Conference.


The Department of Gender Studies, Linkoeping University, started in 1999 thanks to a big grant from the Swedish State. It is staffed by two professors, one in Gender and Culture, and one in Gender and Economic Change, two assistant professors, 12 Ph.D.students and an administra-tor. The department offers a 4-year Ph.D.programme in interdisciplinary Gender Studies.

Before the secretariat was moved to Sweden, a contract was set up with Linkoeping Univer-sity, which promised to host AOIFE on the same conditions as Oslo University had provided in the previous period. This means that Linkoeping University gives the secretariat an infra-structure (office space, computer equipment, phone, fax etc.). Moreover, Linkoeping Univer-sity grants the working hours of the managing director, whereas the wage of the administra-tive co-ordinator (1 day per week) is paid by AOIFE.



Three main lines of activity can be distinguished: a) education, b) research, and c) research policies within the field of Women's/Gender/Feminist Studies. The latter two represent an expansion of activities, since the primary efforts of AOIFE in the first period (1997-2000) was concentrated on the building up of the big ATHENA project, aiming at curriculum de-velopment under EU's SOCRATES programme.

a) Education

The educational and curriculum development activities of AOIFE are co-ordinated by the ATHENA central co-ordination, Women's Studies International Office, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and headed by AOIFE Council member Rosi Braidotti. In the period January 2001 to July 2002, the activities of ATHENA have first and foremost been the successful completion of the big ATHENA 1 project. The central co-ordination sent reports from the five ATHENA 1 panels of experts to Brussels by December 2001. In addition, two work in progress reports have been edited by the ATHENA co-ordination in Utrecht in the period. (See list of ATHENA publications in Annex 1.) Moreover, a dissemination project has been launched, which among other things will finance the publication of ATHENA 1 panel reports. The dissemination project has obtained funding from the SOCRATES programme and will secure a dissemination of the outcomes of ATHENA 1 to a broad community of edu-cators within the field of Women's/Gender/Feminist Studies as well as to politicians, women's organisations, feminist activists and other interested parties. Finally, an application for an ATHENA 2 project has been prepared by the central co-ordination in Utrecht in co-operation with the 80 ATHENA/AOIFE partner universities. For more information on the ATHENA project, see ATHENA publications (cf. Annex 1).

b) Research

Whereas the work in the first period of AOIFE (1997-2002) was focused primarily on educa-tional issues, targeting the SOCRATES programme, the range of activities has expanded to research in the period reported here. Several research proposals have been prepared for the framework programmes of the EU, among other the following:

* Council member Gabriele Griffin co-ordinates an EU-funded project "Employment and Women's Studies: The impact of Women's Studies Training on Women's Employment in Europe" during the period 2001-2003. The project involves eleven partners from nine countries (France, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland and the Nether-lands). Objectives of the project: Large number of women in Europe undertake Women's Studies training, but we have no systematic data on the impact of the training on their subse-quent employment and quality of life. The project therefore seeks to analyse how Women's Studies training affect women's opportunities and intervention in the labour market. Since Women's Studies training differs greatly between countries, a further objective is to examine how these differences relate to individual women's subsequent employment achievements, including changes in the balance between family and work, and changing and managing rela-tionships within the family. As women's employment opportunities vary greatly between partner countries, we need to understand what women - once trained - do, given the structuring of their employment opportunities. Finally, we intend to analyse the impact Women's Studies training has on the changes women seek to generate in the workplace, and how it impacts women's professional and other duties undertaken in the workplace.

* In the autumn of 2001, the AOIFE Council, moreover, decided to launch a project with the title "Gender and Diversity: Towards a Feminist Research Institute." The aim is twofold.

First of all, the project aims at integrating national expertise in interdisciplinary, sociocultural research on gender and diversity in a transnational programme for research on the inter-sections between gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, class, profession, nationality, and on re-lated epistemological, methodological and theoretical problems. The idea is to combine a comparative European and transnational scope with a carefully monitored sensitivity to local differences, sociocultural diversity and processes of in/exclusion, hierarchisation and marginalisation. This goal fits in with a new structure for which it is possible to apply under EU's new 6th Framework Programme for Research. This new structure is called a network of excellence.

Secondly, a more long-term goal is to build up a European Feminist Research Institute, i.e. a durable structure which should complement the national level Women's/Gender/Feminist Studies centres and which will consolidate and expand the activities of the transnational net-work of excellence to which AOIFE seeks to obtain funding from EU's 6th Framework Pro-gramme for Research.

On behalf of AOIFE, the Secretariat prepared an application for a thematic network along these lines in January 2002 - in response to the last call for proposals of the 5th Framework Programme. This application did not obtain funding, but it was evaluated as qualified and got a lot of positive response. Therefore, the Council decided to go ahead with the project. So the secretariat prepared an expression of interest for a network of excellence to the 6th Frame-work Programme in June 2002.

* AOIFE plays an active role in the planning and preparation for the 5th European Feminist Research Conference to be held in Lund in August 2003. The conference will be organised as
a collaboration between the Centre for Gender Studies, Lund University, and AOIFE/ ATHENA (Council, secretariat, ATHENA Student Forum).

c) Research policies

* AOIFE takes part in policy shaping in order to promote the field of Women's/Gender/ Feminist Studies. AOIFE aims at being represented at relevant European conferences on re-search policies, for example, conferences arranged by the Women and Science Unit of DG Research of the EU-Commission. AOIFE was thus represented with a stand at the conference "Gender and Research" organised by DG Research November 8-9, 2001. At this conference AOIFE council member and managing director Nina Lykke was moreover invited as official discussant on the gender impact assessment of the IHP-pro-gramme of EU's 5th Framework programme, presented in the workshop "Human potential: socio-economic aspects". Council member Rosi Braidotti was invited to present a paper under the thematic session "Research- ing gender and science". Nina Lykke was also invited to represent AOIFE at a workshop on Networking of Networks on Women and Science, arranged by the Women and Science Unit of DG Research on February 1, 2002.
* Moreover, AOIFE arranges annual workshops on gender research and research policies. The AOIFE Secretariat in Linkoeping for example, arranged a working meeting on gender re-search and research financing in Europe in June 2001. Represented at the meeting were among others Women and Science Unit of DG Research of the European Commission, repre-sentatives of Nordic Research Councils, national co-ordinators for Women's and Gender Studies, AOIFE council, members of AOIFE advisory board, Next Genderation network, etc. The main purpose of the working meeting was to discuss the conditions of gender research in Europe in terms of its recognition by re-search financing agencies, and joint initiatives and strategies to make the importance of the area more visible in the research financing agencies of Europe. A primary focus was the framework programmes of the EU. In a forward looking perspective, the meeting among others discussed the possibility of joint initiatives and strate-gies as regards promotion of the integration of gender perspectives and gender research in EU's upcoming 6th Framework Pro-gramme for research. Comparisons between local level and European level initiatives to in-fluence official research financing policies were also on the agenda.



* AOIFE Council has met three times in the reported period. Two of the meetings were organised as part of ATHENA meetings - at the Gender Studies programme at the European University Institute in Florence, March-April 2001, and at the Institute of Feminist Studies, Universidad de Complutense de Madrid, October 2001. One Council meeting was arranged together with a working meeting on Gender Research and Research Financing in Europe, arranged by the AOIFE secretariat in Linköping in June 2001.

* Communication with the members at large has been conducted via e-mail communications, via the AOIFE web-site and via the magazine NIKK News, the newsletter of the former host of the secretariat at Oslo University. NIKK kindly offered to continue to publish news from AOIFE, and the Linkoeping secretariat was happy with this solution in the period of transi-tion. Moreover, the AOIFE secretariat has given reports at ATHENA meetings, and arranged a special information meeting for AOIFE members at the ATHENA meeting in Madrid, October 2001. Reports from AOIFE have, moreover, been published in the annual ATHENA work in progress reports (see Annex 1).

* In order to make AOIFE more visible to a broader public and to create a European forum for discussion of the interaction between European and national level policies on Women's/ Gender/Feminist Studies as well as curriculum development, research etc. within the field, the secretariat proposed to launch an AOIFE newsletter in the format of NIKK News. The Council approved of the idea, and the first issue of the new AOIFE News will be published in the autumn of 2002. Editors are PhD-students Paula Mulinari, Anna Adeniji and Anna Lund- berg together with Nina Lykke and Berit Starkman.


5. Council members 2001-2003:

Harriet Silius, President, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
Rosi Braidotti, Vice-President, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Gabriele Griffin, Hull University, UK
Jalna Hanmer, University of Sunderland, UK
Annastasia Lada, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Nina Lykke, Managing director, Linköping university, Sweden
Magda Michielsens, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Elzbieta Oleksy, University of Lodz, Poland
Serena Sapegno, Universita degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Italy



The Secretariat is responsible for performing co-ordination and administrative tasks related to AOIFE's activities, members and contact networks throughout Europe and internationally. The Secretariat employed a secretariat co-ordinator (Berit Starkman) who allotted approxi-mately 400 hours to AOIFE in 2001 (see attached AOIFE Accounts 2001) and in the budget for 2002 the same level is estimated. Only very few hours have been paid for IT-consultant during 2001, but since the PhD-student Anna Adeniji has been recruited during 2002 to work with the AOIFE-web page the number of working hours will reflect this in the accounts for 2002 and 2003.

AOIFE's biggest expenditures are wages for the Secretariat and travel costs (for the Council and Secretariat to central meetings). During 2001 a mini-conference was arranged in Lin-koeping and the Secretariat paid for invited guests.

The primary source of income is member-ship fees. The contributions from Department of Gender Studies, Linkoeping university, such as use of free office space, equipment etc does not influence the net result per se. The reduced income for 2001 is primarily due to pending membership fees from both 2000 and 2001. There have been initial problems in sorting out pending fees and possible cancellations during the first year in Linkoeping, but this has been sorted out during 2002. The income for the late incoming payments will be added to the total income of 2002.

The surplus in the AOIFE account for 2001 is due to the money transferred from NIKK to Linkoeping. Moreover, 436 EURO has been accumulated in 2001, among others because the publishing and printing of AOIFE News has been delayed and thus the printing costs calculated for during 2001 have not been used. However, the editing of the first issue of the news has progressed with the great work of AOIFE News editor and PhD-student Paula Mulinari and the printing of this issue is planned for autumn 2002.



AOIFE is composed of institutional members. The two types of membership available are institutional (granted to institutions of higher education, research and documentation centres) and associate membership (granted to local/national European associations, co-ordinating bodies, etc). Nine members are exempted from the membership fees. These members are primarily from Eastern Europe or exempted because an exchange of membership.

The number of AOIFE members for 2001 also include members whose membership fee have not be included in the budget, as their memberships have not been officially cancelled or who have paid their membership fees later. During 2001 AOIFE gained two new members and a few more have applied for membership for 2002. Two members also cancelled their member-ship during 2001. The membership has thus been relatively stable. However, the publishing of the newsletter will hopefully promote AOIFE and thus result in new members. AOIFE's member institutions represent over 20 different European countries.

Pr. 31.12 2000 2001
Members in AOIFE 65 72
ATHENA partners 58 69
Institutional members 59 66
Associate members 6 6
Exemptions 8 9

The pr. country distribution of member institutions (including institutional members, associate members as well as exemptions):

2000 2001
Austria 2 2
Belgium 3 4
Denmark 4 3
Finland 6 7
France 1 1
Germany 1 2
Greece 1 1
Hungary 1 1
Ireland 2 2
Iceland 1
Italy 11 12
Latvia 1 1
Lithuania 1
Macedonia 1 1
Netherlands 6 6
Norway 4 5
Poland 1 1
Portugal 1 1
Slovenia 1 1
Spain 2 3
Sweden 6 7
Switzerland 3 2
United Kingdom 5 6
Yugoslvia 1 1

Harriet Silius Nina Lykke
President, AOIFE Managing director, AOIFE-secretariat

Annex 1 - AOIFE Mid-term-report January 2001 - July 2002.

ATHENA publications:

Braidotti, Rosi, Ilse Lazaroms and Esther Vonk: 'The Making of European Women's Studies. A work in progress reports on curriculum development and related issues in gender education and research'. Volume III. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 2001.

Braidotti, Rosi, Sonja van Wichelen and Esther Vonk: 'The Making of European Women's Studies. A work in progress report on curriculum development and related issues in gender education and research'. Volume II. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 2000.

Braidotti, Rosi and Esther Vonk: 'The Making of European Women's Studies. A work in pro-gress report on curriculum development and related issues in gender education and research'. Volume I. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 1999.

Griffin, Gabriele and Braidotti, Rosi (eds): Thinking Differently. A European Women's Studies Reader. Zed Books, London 2002.

Goodman, Sara, Gill Kirkup and Magda Michielsens: 'The use of ICT in Women's Studies Teaching in Europe'. A manual on the use of new Information and Communication Techno-logies in Women's Studies Teaching, and feminist pedagogy in the use of ICT'. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 1999. (Can be downloaded from womens_studies/athena/outcomes.html)

'The use of Women's Studies teaching books and materials in Europe'. A comparative report on teaching materials and teaching methods used in Women's Studies courses and curricula in different European countries. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 2000. (Can be down-loaded from

Lykke, N, C. Michel and M. Puig de la Bellacasa (eds): 'Women's Studies - from institutional innovations to new job qualifications'. A cross-European comparative study on degrees and institutionalisation of Women's Studies in Europe, and the qualifications and professional outlets of Women's Studies graduates. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 2001. (Can be downloaded from


Annex 2 - AOIFE Mid-term-report, January 2001 - July 2002

AOIFE budget 2001 Estimated Result Dec 2001

To be received from NIKK 11183 103443 103443 11183
Costs paid by Linköping -
transfer of the secretariat 1372 12690 12690 1372
To be added as income for 2001 9811 90753 90753 9811

Membership fees (1) 34 000 314 500 219727 23750
Estimated subsidy from LiU (2) 16553 153124 153124 16553
Sum income 50 553 467 624 372 851 40 303

Wage (3) 13 513 125 000 80568 8710
Travelling (secretariat/council) 8648 80000 54395 5881
Council meeting & mini-con-ference 2162 20000 15494 1675
Printing, materials etc 2000 25000 3000 324
Bank fees (4) 571 4970
Possible unexpected expenses 500 4625 1100 119
Estimation of expenses, LiU (2) 16554 153124 153124 16553
(unpaid by AOIFE)
Sum expenses 43 948 412 719 307 681 33 262

Surplus 16 416 145 658 155 923 16 852

(1) Calculated at 65 institutional and 6 associate members 1 EURO = 9:25 SEK
Payments received 2001: 48 members (one associate, 47 institutional) + 3 late payments for 2000 via NIKK

(2) Office costs calculated at 31%of handling costs, computer, telephone + managing director (estimated 30 days/year)
No changes in this estimation

(3) Calculated on a basis of one day-a-week salary for adm coordinator (secretary) + consultant hours for IT
Only salary for adm coordinator. Problems with IT-consultant

(4) Calculated at 71 paying members (70 SEK charged by the bank for each payment received)
The fee is included in the handlings costs via the central administration
In addition , but not included here (will be added on 2002):
Late payments of membership fee for 2001.