A Finnish story

Studying at the Master programme in Gender Studies made me reflect my Finnishness in a new way says Inkeri Tanhua, Gender equality and diversity specialist.

Full name, title and country of origin?

Inkeri Tanhua, M.Soc.Sc. and M.Sc. (Econ.), Gender equality and diversity specialist, Finland

What programme did you study?

Master of Social Science with a major in Gender Studies, specialization Intersectionality and Change, Linköping University, Sweden (two years distance studying programme)

Where are you employed now?Inkeri Tanhua 

I am working as a gender equality and diversity specialist and a researcher in a consultancy company called WoM Oy. I am also a PhD candidate at Hanken School of Economics.

What did you take away from the programme? (For example, was there something valuable or unique learned on your programme that helps you today?)

The programme provided a great opportunity to reflect my work as a gender equality and diversity specialist through feminist research. Prior having working experience, I had conducted a minor on gender studies and enjoyed it much. However, this time many traditional feminist authors seemed to be making more sense to me. I am now more confident in referring to them, which is very useful in my work. During the programme, I also had an opportunity to meet interesting researchers who were our teachers, and to discuss with wonderful co-students.

What is your favourite memory of your time in Sweden?

Together with students and staff members, we created a diverse and interesting group. It was great to discuss together both in Sweden during face-to-face weeks and online during the distance studying periods. In one moment, I was talking to a group of interesting people through my laptop and the next moment I was alone in my office. I can still recall these strange but inspiring moments.

What if any tradition will you continue in your home country?

Studying in an international and Swedish context was a strong experience. As a side product, it made me reflect my Finnishness in a new way. I learned to tell my story as a Finnish story and started to see the differences between equality work in Sweden and Finland. Of course, Sweden and Finland have many similarities, too, and the differences sometimes disappeared when I was trying to explain them for someone who lived somewhere else than Sweden or Finland. It is not a tradition really but I think that developing this awareness of being abroad and trying to explain my work and my thoughts in an international context was one of the things I learned from the programme.

Is there anything you would love to be able to take home with you?

It felt good to be regularly traveling to Sweden. I would take a ferry from Finland, stop in Stockholm to meet friends and then continue to Linköping via train. During every trip, I met both familiar and new interesting people. I miss this habit. I think we should still keep meeting every now and then!