Department of Sociology

Marie Flinkfeldt has been awarded a junior research grant from Forte

2017-11-17

Marie Flinkfeldt has been awarded a 3 430 000 SEK grant for the research project "Equal terms? Manifestations of inequality in parents’ contacts with the Social Insurance Agency about parental leave". The project runs over four years and is funded by Forte.

The research project investigates mothers’ and fathers’ sharing of responsibility for planning and administering parental leave and whether they are treated equally by social insurance officers. Previous research on equality in this area has mainly focused on explaining differences in the use of parental leave between men and women, either by seeking correlations with variables such as income, occupation or level of education, or by asking parents about their experiences and motives for dividing responsibilities in a certain way. This project is breaking new ground by studying contacts between parents and the Social Insurance Agency, for example in the form of recorded phone calls to the Social Insurance Agency’s customer service. By such means, the project will generate new knowledge on how parents in practice seek to understand, plan, apply for, and flexibly adjust parental leave, and what role gender plays in this process. The project will also generate detailed knowledge about the role of social insurance officers in these processes and how they can contribute to strengthening or undermining a gender equal use of parents’ allowance.

By giving insight into what the contacts between parents and the Social Insurance Agency actually look like and how linguistic details in what is said affect their trajectories, the project enables development of effective equality-promoting communicative strategies within Swedish social insurance. The results will among other things be used to design communication training of officials and will thereby contribute to more gender equal treatment of parents.

The research project will be conducted at Umeå University, but Marie Flinkfeldt will continue to work at the Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, throughout 2018.

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