Gender and Work

Project History

The development of the GaW database is an integral component of the Gender and Work research project, having grown out of the project’s research questions. At the same time, the aim from the outset has been for the database to be accessible to other researchers who wish to pose different questions to the source material. In other words, Gender and Work is both a research project and an infrastructure project.

Following are some important points in the history of the research project and the database:


  • Maria Ågren receives funding from the Department of History to make an inventory of source material and to write an application to the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, or VR) for a grant to develop research infrastructure.


  • The application to VR is approved, with funding granted from May 2008.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz is named project coordinator.
  • The Demographic Data Base at Umeå University (DDB) is commissioned to develop a specially-designed database.
  • A focus group of scholars is appointed.


  • A management team for the database is appointed. The team is responsible for the registration project, including day-to-day decisions regarding what to include.
  • In June 2009 Maria Ågren is awarded a grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Wallenberg Scholar). The grant extends to 31 December 2014 and makes it possible for a large research group to collaborate on the same questions, as well as to work cooperatively to collect and process material.
  • The functionality of the database is subjected to rigorous testing during the autumn.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz and Jonas Lindstgröm present the database at a conference in Barcelona.


  • The chair of the Department of History signs an acknowledgement of receipt of the database. A three-year service contract with DDB takes effect.
  • Amy Louise Erickson from the University of Cambridge is the project’s first guest researcher.
  • In Spring 2010 a new grant for research infrastructure is sought from both VR and Riksbankens jubileumsfond. Both applications are approved to grant the entire amount requested. Because regulations do not allow for collecting two grants for the same purpose, the VR grant is chosen.
  • The VR grant includes a sum earmarked for the development of an automated “verb identification tool”. This concrete work is carried out by Eva Pettersson as a Ph.D. project, under the supervision of Joakim Nivre at the Department of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University.
  • The entire project team (14 people) participates at a conference in Cambridge in September 2012.

Read more from the conference

  • Rosemarie Fiebranz presents the GaW database at a workshop in Strasbourg, organized by the European Science Foundation.


  • At Uppsala University’s internal evaluation of the quality of research (KoF 2011), the GaW database is identified as especially interesting and valuable: “We find the GaW database to be a highly innovative and valuable project which represents both continuity and renewal in research [---] We strongly recommend that the university allocates the necessary funds to maintain and ensure the long-term preservation of the database”.
  • The anthology Levebröd: Vad vet vi om tidigmodern könsarbetsdelning? (Opuscula Historica Upsaliensia 47), edited by Benny Jacobsson and Maria Ågren, is published.
  • “Making Verbs Count: The Research Project ‘Gender and Work’ and its Methodology”, by Rosemarie Fiebranz, Erik Lindberg, Jonas Lindström, and Maria Ågren, is published in Scandinavian Economic History Review 59:3.
  • During October 2011 work is begun to develop a better extraction tool for the database.
  • Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen from Åbo University is guest researcher for the project.


  • The Gender and Work research project arranges an international conference held at The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Vitterhetsakademien) in Stockholm.

Read more from the conference

  • Maria Ågren presents the project “Genus och arbete i det tidigmoderna Sverige" in Historisk tidskrift 132:1.
  • A new server for GaW is purchased.
  • Ann-Catrin Östman from Åbo Akademi is guest researcher for the project.
  • Articles about GaW are presented in the university’s personnel magazine, Universen and its annual magazine, Horisont.


  • In Spring 2013 the Department of History enters a new three-year service agreement with DDB for the GaW database.
  • The development of a new extraction tool is completed in March 2013.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz participates at a conference in Sheffield and Maria Ågren lectures at Jyväskylä University and Arbetets Museum in Norrköping.
  • Together, the entire project team (16 people) publishes “Praktiker som gör skillnad: Om den verb-inriktade metoden” in Historisk tidskrift’s thematic issue on Method (133:3).
  • In December 2013 GaW is granted more than 4 million Swedish crowns by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Memorial Fund. This grant is to be used to improve the geographical scope of the database as well as to create a more efficient and effective website.


  • A frozen version of the database, GaW 2014, is created as a basis of the research project’s final report, Making a living, making a difference.
  • At the Swedish Historians’ Meeting (Svenska historikermötet) in Stockholm, an entire session is devoted to GaW’s results. Rosemarie Fiebranz participates in a session concerning research infrastructure.
  • In Autumn 2014 the GaW-team takes part in a historic conference at Glasgow University about the work of women. As a direct result of the conference, an application is made to the Leverhulme Foundation for a corresponding European project, with Alexandra Shepard as the lead applicant. The project is approved Spring 2015.
  • Maria Ågren presents the research project and the database at a conference in Rome.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz is appointed senior lecturer in history, with special emphasis on historical research infrastructure.
  • Julie Hardwick, University of Texas, and Sheilagh Ogilvie, University of Cambridge, are guest researchers for the project.


  • The research project and database are presented at the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala (Kungliga Vetenskaps Societeten i Uppsala), the Center for Gender Research, and Folkuniversitetet.
  • Results from GaW are presented at the Nordic Women’s and Gender History Conference (Nordiska Kvinno- och Genushistorikermötet) in Stockholm and at the International Congress of Historical Science (Världshistorikerkongressen) in Jinan, China. In conjunction, a segment is produced for Swedish Science Radio (Vetenskapsradion).
  • The database and its methodology are presented at seminars held at Swedish Academy Dictionary of the Swedish Language (cf. OED)in Lund, Cambridge University, and Gothenburg University.
  • GaW is identified as infrastructure of potential national interest by Uppsala University.
  • GaW’s new website is launched. The database, which contains roughly 19 000 activities and 500 000 words of digitized source text, is accessible for other researchers, students, and the general public.
  • The Department of History at Uppsala University developed the GaW database in the years 2008-2013, with support from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. More recently, further support has been received from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Memorial Fund for the period 2014-2018.
  • The database was designed by The Demographic Data Base (Demografiska databasen) at Umeå University. The database is currently physically located at DDB, but is the property of Uppsala University and is accessible online.