Margunn Bjørnholt joins the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies

Margunn Bjørnholt joins the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS) as a research professor from 1 January 2016. She will head a 3-year research project on intimate partner violence, with particular emphasis on gender, gender equality and power relations. The project is funded by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and is part of a research program on violence in close relationships, which NKVTS has been tasked by the government with implementing.

Margunn Bjørnholt evaluated as professor competent

Senior Researcher Margunn Bjørnholt has been awarded competence as a (full) professor in gender studies by an evaluation committee appointed by the University of Stavanger. The committee consisted of Nina Lykke (Linköping University), May-Len Skilbrei (University of Oslo Faculty of Law) and Oluf Langhelle (University of Stavanger). The committee concludes that

Bjørnholt’s academic accomplishments in the last few years are impressive. She has published pieces in high impact journals substantially contributing to our understanding of gendered processes of work-sharing, qualitative interviewing and theory development on gender, work and family. Her contributions in the area of her PhD project and her work on “analyzing ideologies and materialities of gender equality,” together with the fact that she has also published interesting pieces on topics outside of these, and her pedagogical qualifications, qualifies her for a position of Professor in Gender Studies.

Margunn Bjørnholt spoke on the Norwegian Oil Fund from a human rights perspective

Margunn Bjørnholt speaking on the Norwegian Oil Fund from a human rights perspective. Photo: CWGL, Rutgers University.

Margunn Bjørnholt speaking on the investment management of the Norwegian Oil Fund from a human rights perspective. Photo: CWGL, Rutgers University.

Margunn Bjørnholt, director of Policy and Social Research, spoke on the the Norwegian Oil Fund from a human rights perspective at a side-event on the financial crisis, the recession and human rights on 13 March 2014, during the session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) in New York. The event was organized by the International Alliance of Women (IAW), a leading human rights NGO with general consultative status with UN ECOSOC, and of which Bjørnholt is also a board member. The other speakers were Radhika Balakrishnan, executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, who spoke on the financialisation of the economy and the causes behind the financial crisis, and Joanna Manganara, the IAW President, who presented research on the consequences of the recession on women in Europe.

The investment management of the Norwegian Oil Fund from a human rights perspective

Norway is a strong protagonist for human rights internationally and in the UN. Norway was hardly affected by the financial crisis, partly as a result of successfull counter-cyclical economic policies after the crisis. Through its role as an investor, in particular through its sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund – Global (the “Oil Fund”), which is based on the revenue from the Norwegian petroleum industry, Norway gained from the crisis, and was partly responsible for it through investments in the banks and financial institutions that caused the crisis. In 2007 the Norwegian sovereign weath fund invested in a number of the financial institutíons that were involved in the subprime crisis, among them Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, Freddie Mac, and other main culprits in causing the crisis.

As a creditor Norway shares responsibility for the debt management in the Euro-zone, imposing harsh conditions on other European countries, which have had a devastating effect, in particular on women. Despite the adoption of ethical guidelines in 2004, and despite the fact that the fund has acted on them and has withdrawn from some companies and some industries, such as tobacco, the fund’s investments, including its recent engagement in real estate continue to receive criticism. Referring to Radhika Balakrishnan and Diane Elson’s framework for evaluating macro-economic policy according to the human rights, Bjørnholt raised the question of regulation and accountability at a more general level: asking how should a sovereign wealth fund be viewed and how should it be held to account? Do the human rights obligations apply for a state acting as a company in the global economy?