Johanna Kantola

Professor of Gender Studies, Tampere University

Johnanna Kantola is a Professor of Gender Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Tampere University. Her research centres on gender, power and politics: political parties and institutions, gender equality policies in Finland and in the EU, and theoretical questions about the state, representation and intersectionality.

Professor Kantola is the director of the ERC Consolidator Grant (2018-2023) funded research project Gender, party politics and democracy in Europe: A study of European Parliament’s party groups (EUGenDem), as well as the Academy of Finland (2016-2020) and University of Helsinki Research Funds (2015-2017) funded research project Gender and Power in Reconfigured Corporatist Finland (GePoCo).


Raimo Antila

Director General, Department for Work and Gender Equality, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

Raimo Antila works as a Director General in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. He is head of the Department for Work and Gender Equality. Department prepares and develops the Government’s gender equality policy and gender equality legislation and promotes equality between the genders. Department also guides and directs the supervision and administration of occupational safety and health, drafts legislation and policies on occupational safety and health, and conducts international cooperation in the field of occupational safety and health.

Gabriele Griffin

PI of CoE Nordwit, Professor at Uppsala University

Gabriele Griffin is Professor of Gender Research at Uppsala University. She coordinates the NordForsk funded Centre of Excellence ‘Nordwit: Women’s Careers in Technology-Driven Professions in the Nordic Context’ (2017-2022). In 2018 she collaborated on a Vinnova-funded pilot project on ‘Female Entrepreneurship and Decent Work’.

Professor Griffin is series editor for the ‘Research Methods in the Arts and Humanities’ series of Edinburgh University Press. She was co-founding editor of the international journal Feminist Theory. Recent publications include Challenging the Myth of Gender Equality in Sweden (Bristol: Policy Press, 2016, co-ed.), Cross-cultural Interviewing (London: Routledge, 2016)The Dictionary of Gender Studies for Oxford University Press (2017), ja Body, Migration, Re/constructive Surgeries: Making the Gendered Body in a Globalized World (London: Routledge, 2019, co-ed.).


Tiina Suopajärvi

Senior researcher, Nordwit, Tampere University

Tiina Suopajärvi works as a senior researcher in Nordwit NCoE in gender studies at Tampere University. Her research fields include the feminist and anthropological studies of work and working life, as well as the studies on the intersections of ageing, place and technology.


Anne Pépin

Senior Policy Officer, EC

Anne Pépin is a senior policy officer in the Gender Sector of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (Directorate E–PEOPLE, Unit E5–Democracy and European Values). She holds a PhD in physics-electronics from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (France) and was recruited as a permanent researcher by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in 1996. In 2006, she became a Scientific Advisor for the Mission pour la place des femmes au CNRS – a strategic unit attached to the CNRS President and in charge of fostering gender equality within the organisation – where she initiated key partnerships within Europe and North America. Anne Pépin was appointed Director of the Mission pour la place des femmes au CNRS in 2012. Among other activities, she coordinated EU-funded projects INTEGER (2011-2015) and GENDER-NET (2013-2016). Since June 2017, she has been on leave from her CNRS position to join DG RTD’s Gender Sector. 

Liisa Husu

Professor, Örebro University

Professor Liisa Husu is a Finnish sociologist and gender expert. She is Professor of Gender Studies at Örebro University, Sweden, Co-Director of GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies, and affiliated researcher at the Department of Management and Organisation at Hanken School of Economics, Finland. Her research and publications focus on gender in science, academia and knowledge production, especially gender dynamics and inequalities in scientific careers, organisations and science policy.

Husu has contributed extensively as a gender expert/adviser for R&D stakeholders in the Nordic region, Europe and internationally, including ministries, international and national agencies, funding organisations, universities and research institutes. She has played an active role in European research development and actions on gender and science in EC expert groups, EC research projects (ADVANCE, PROMETEA, genSET, GenPORT, GEDII, GRANTeD) and international networks. She is scientific adviser of the European Women Rectors’ Association, EWORA; member of the board of the International Sociological Association Research Committee of Sociology of Science and Technology; and member of the advisory board of GENIE – Chalmers University of Technology ten-year Gender Initiative for Excellence, in Sweden.


Photographer: Ulla-Carin Ekblom

Sophia Ivarsson

Programme Director, Vinnova

Sophia Ivarsson is a program director for the program Gender & diversity for innovation at Sweden’s Innovation Agency, Vinnova. She also holds a PhD in psychology and gender research. She will present how Vinnova have gender mainstreamed their research and innovation funding process.

Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä

Head of Talent Boost Finland, Business Finland

Diversity is the driver for business success in today’s global economy. Diversity is not only gender issue, but diversity means also cultural and national diversity. Multicultural, multinational and multitalented teams succeed better, whether research teams, innovative companies or startups – or symphony orchestras. The Talent Boost (Kasvua kansainvälisistä osaajista / Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö) started by the previous Finnish government in 2017 aims at attracting international talents to Finland and enhancing companies’ capabilities to recruit and lead multicultural and diverse organizations.

Kirsi Siltanen

Specialist, Consultancy for Regional Development MDI

Kirsi Siltanen works as a specialist in Consultancy for Regional Development MDI. She is specialised in all things regional: regional development policy, regional innovation policy and regional promotion of health and wellbeing. Her mission is to  mainstream gender perspective into these fields. Previously, she has worked as a researcher in the University of Tampere, a network coordinator in the University of Arts Helsinki and a project manager in regional government reform in Pirkanmaa, where she e.g. planned a model for promoting gender equality for the regional government.

Kaisa-Leena Lintilä

Director for Regional Development, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Kaisa-Leena Lintilä is the Director for Regional Development at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. She has diverse experience in regional development and EU structural funds, as well as gender equality and women’s perspectives in different political sectors. She is particularly interested in how gender awareness can be connected to development and project while supporting their content goals. Ms. Lintilä is a member of the University of Vaasa board, and she has experience in partnership between public administration, universities, and industry and commerce.


Kalevi Pölönen

Head of Office, Unit of Structural Funds, South Savo Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Kalevi Pölönen is Head of Office in the Unit of Structural Funds at the South Savo Centre for Economic Development. The Head of Office is responsible for the managing of project applications for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) in Eastern Finland (Southern Savo, North Carelia and Northern Savo), as well as deciding on financing and collaboration and partnerships between different organisations, pertaining to the effective planning and execution of structural fund programmes. Financing includes to both aid granted to businesses and the general, so to speak, ERDF and ESF development projects. The goal of the granted financing is increasing effectiveness in growth, exports, know-how, participation and improved employment rates – in other words, well-being.

Kalevi Pölönen has extensive and diverse experience in innovation, business financing and research financing. He has formerly worked in a number of positions with Tekes in business financing, research financing, as well as technological programmes, such as Liito – Uudistuva liiketoiminta ja johtaminen, Toiminnalliset materiaalit and the FinNano programme. Gender equality is an absolutely vital factor in Finland’s international success.

Tiina Rajala

Development Director, Council of Oulu Region

Tiina Rajala works as the Development Director of the Council of Oulu Region. She has held the position since 1.4.2014. The Development Director is responsible for regional development, national funding of the region and ERDF funding of the region. The funds are used to produce strong and competitive industrial policies and a European innovation policy. Metrics that are used in project funding assessments include gender equality and the creation of jobs for women. Tiina is also an expert member of the Oulu Innovation Alliance Executive Group. Earlier she has worked as regional leader of the Oulu unit of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Her responsibilities included the development of occupational life. She has also worked as a Technology Expert in TEKES’s working life development programme. Tiina graduated from the University of Vaasa with a major in Public Law and Public Administration.

Petri Räsänen

Development Director, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment; Director of Innovation and Foresight, Council of Tampere Region (on leave)

Mr Petri Räsänen (born 1966) obtained his MSc in Sociology, Business Administration and International Relations and L.Soc.Sc in Sociology. He has an extensive background in innovation related managerial positions in the public and private sectors, including VTT, Secgo Group and Hermia Group. In 2011 he was appointed as Director, Innovation and foresight at the Council of Tampere Region. In this position he was responsible for the regional innovation policy development and strategic foresight. Currently Petri is Development Director at Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, focusing on digital transformation of businesses.

Anita Lehikoinen

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland

Permanent Secretary Anita Lehikoinen is head of operations of the Ministry in cooperation with the Ministers and leads the implementation of the Government programme within the Ministry´s administrative sector.

She supervises the internal functions of the Ministry and plays a significant role in preparing the Ministry to respond to future challenges.