Doctoral dissertation: Ageing and Gender in the Nordic Arctic


LLM Shahnaj Begum’s doctoral thesis explores how ageing and gender in the Nordic Arctic interact with equality and social justice.

The research frame was used that comprises Arctic research with a focus on human rights, ageing research and gender studies. The data consists of 1) published scientific literature and relevant policy reports and 2) research interviews which have conducted in Finnish and Swedish Lapland between 2011 and 2017.

The findings points out that because of climate change, older people face significant challenges as regards the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights. Their right to life and healthy living conditions is threatened due to socio-cultural and environmental changes which often have adverse impacts. The concepts of equality and social justice are intertwined as they relate to the enjoyment of these basic human rights. While older people as such are generally threatened in terms of the enjoyment of these basic rights, in most cases women are disproportionately affected. Further the PhD study suggests that structural inequality exists within the regional settings, with the prevailing inequalities entailing vulnerability for older women in particular.

Begum’s PhD study emphasizes that physical and mental wellbeing of older persons in the Nordic Arctic is mostly dependent on, and connected to, age friendly environment. The changes occurring in the physical, social and infrastructural environments affect the unique features of the Arctic environment, making the older people feel insecure in many respects, such as their socio-economic position. Women were working more at home without paid salary. As a result, women are not receiving work related pension. Feelings of insecurity and suffering from unfairness are more common among women, who are in many aspects vulnerable – being women, aged, and in some instances members of a particular ethnic group, such as the Sámi. These disadvantages at times result in social injustices especially for women in their old age. All in all, the thesis provides relevant information and insights into the discussion on the positions of older people in the Nordic Arctic.

Information on the Public defence:

LLM, BSc. & LLB Shahnaj Begum will defend her dissertation titled “Ageing and Gender in the Nordic Arctic” at the Faculty of Education, on 11th January, Friday, 2019 at 12 o'clock. The defence will take place in Lecture Hall 2, at the University of Lapland. The opponent is Professor Eva-Maria Svensson from University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the Custos is Professor Päivi Naskali from the University of Lapland. Welcome!

Information on the doctoral candidate:

Shahnaj Begum has an interdisciplinary research background. She has completed her LLB and LLM from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has worked in a well-known advertising firm, Adcomm Ltd. as a Media executive officer. She has completed another degree on Bachelor of Social Science (BSc) in “Human Aging and Elderly Service”, Arcada University of Applied Science, Helsinki, Finland.

Additional information:

Shahnaj Begum
Phone no: +358 (0) 404844122

Information on the publication:

Shahnaj Begum: Ageing and Gender in the Nordic Arctic. Acta Universitatis Lapponiensis 378. ISBN 978-952-337-103-3. ISSN 0788-7604. PDF: Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 245. ISBN 978-952-337-104-0. ISSN 1796-6310.


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