About us / Centres

The Institute of Contemporary History

Graphic element for the Institute of Contemporary HistoryThe Institute of Contemporary History (Samtidshistoriska institutet) is a multi-disciplinary research institute at Södertörn University.

Our research focuses on current issues in society and political culture, such as parties and institutions, power shifts, global governance, the role of civil society, gender politics, trends in public administration, and the history of the Baltic Sea area. We have a strong interest in domestic questions, as well as issues on the transnational and the international level.

We participate in regional and global networks and frequently welcome visiting researchers to our research environment.

Genre et locale

This comparative research project was based on a case study and involved seven EU states - Belgium, France, Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden. Its purpose was to locate the possibilities of change resulting from women's increased participation in local government.

The research project intended to bring out the effects of the gendered composition of elected political bodies and women's dynamic contribution to the fate of the community.

In order to do this the project examined:

  1. women's current place in decision making and the reasons for sex inequality in political representation;
  2. the impact of the informal political sphere (NGOs etc.) on the decisions of elected representatives as well as women's role in this type of activity;
  3. the effects of shifts in the forms of government (weight of inter-communal bodies, interaction between local and EU level) and the way in which these influence gender relations.


The research project was coordinated by Professor Jacqueline Heinen, University of Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines and at Sciences Po, Paris, France.


Research was carried out by research teams in seven European countries: Belgium, France, Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden. The Swedish team was in charge of the website.

Presentation of the project (in French, with English abstract)



Final report

The final report is written in French and was published in 2004. It can be downloaded here:




Guide to the integration of gender equality in local government policies

A guide to the integration of gender equality in local government policies was published in six different languages (English, French, Dutch, Italian, Finnish and Portuguese).

You can download the guides from the page to the right.