Margunn Bjørnholt

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Margunn Bjørnholt
M Bjornholt.png
30th President of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights
Assumed office
Preceded by Torild Skard
Personal details
Born 9 October 1958
Bø, Telemark
Nationality Norwegian
Alma mater University of Tromsø, College of Europe, University of Oslo
Occupation Sociologist
Education cand.mag. (regional planning)
MA (international economics) (economic sociology)
Employer Policy and Social Research, University of Oslo, Work Research Institute, National Institute of Technology, Regional Development Fund

Margunn Bjørnholt (born 9 October 1958 in Bø, Telemark) is a Norwegian sociologist, social psychologist, economist and men's studies scholar. Her research interests encompass ethical banking, organisational and spatial flexibility in the public sector, management, gender equality, and work–family arrangements, with a particular focus on men. She was formerly involved in the ethical banking movement, and has worked to promote female entrepreneurship and regional development as a civil servant and business consultant.[1]


She has studied public policy, contemporary history, regional planning, economics and European integration. She holds a cand.mag. degree in regional planning from the University of Tromsø (1981), an MA in international economics (European economic studies) from the elite College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium (Promotion Johan Willem Beyen 1981–1982[2]) and a degree (i.e. US PhD equivalent) in economic sociology from the University of Oslo (1995), with a dissertation on microfinance, ethical and interest-free banking (Pengene mot strømmen) and a fellowship at the Project for an Alternative Future (now the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo).[1]

She has worked at the Regional Development Fund (now Innovation Norway), at the National Institute of Technology, and as a partner in a consultancy, promoting regional development and entrepreneurship, with a particular emphasis on female entrepreneurship. She has later been a researcher at the Work Research Institute and the Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, and is now director of Policy and Social Research AS and an associate member of the research group Rights, Individuals, Culture and Society at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law. She has been invited as a visiting scholar at Emory University School of Law (the Feminism and Legal Theory Project) in Atlanta (2012)[3] and GEXcel Center of Gender Excellence at Örebro University (2013), and has served as a national expert on gender equality to the European Commission DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. She speaks Norwegian, English, German and French.[1]

She was born in Bø, Telemark, but grew up in Oslo, the daughter of an independent forestry contractor. The family name, meaning "bearwood," originates in Jondalen near Kongsberg. Many of her ancestors were miners at the Kongsberg Silver Mines, and she is descended notably from the Frisch family and is thus a relative of the economist Ragnar Frisch.


Her research interests encompass ethical banking and microfinance, organisational and spatial flexibility in the public sector, management, gender equality, work–family arrangements, qualitative research methods and cultural sociology. She is an expert on men's role and agency in social change towards more egalitarian work–family arrangements.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

In recent years her research has focused on fathers and sons, and she has carried out a follow-up study 30 years later of Erik Grønseth's pioneering, experimental gender equality research from the 1970s, which studied gendered patterns of breadwinning and care. The follow-up study, which was funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and the Research Council of Norway, has received much attention in Norway and abroad.[5][6][8][9][10] She is currently involved in a cross-national comparative study on work–life balance in Poland and Norway with a grant from the EEA and Norway Grants.[13]

She was co-editor, with the Scottish economist Ailsa McKay, of the 2014 book Counting on Marilyn Waring: New Advances in Feminist Economics.[14] The book was described by Alison Preston as "a timely reminder of the politics and economics underpinning what, how and by whom activities are valued." In a review in Morgenbladet, Maria Reinertsen compared the book to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, arguing that "while Thomas Piketty's bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century barely tests the discipline's boundaries in its focus on the rich, Counting on Marilyn Waring challenges most limits of what economists should care about."[15]

Civic activities[edit]

She was involved in the ethical banking movement in the 1990s as chair of a working group attempting to start a bank in Norway modelled after JAK Members Bank in Sweden. She is chair of CINI (Child In Need India) Norway, President of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights,[16] a board member of the International Alliance of Women,[17] an INGO with general consultative status with UN ECOSOC, and President of the Norwegian Women's Lobby, an umbrella organization of Norwegian organizations concerned with women's issues and gender equality.

She is a columnist for The Huffington Post[18] and is also a regular commentator in Norwegian media, inter alia on gender equality issues.

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Margunn Bjørnholt". Policy and Social Research. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Dieter Mahncke, Léonce Bekemans, Robert Picht, eds. (1999). The College of Europe. Fifty Years of Service to Europe, College of Europe, Bruges, ISBN 9080498319
  3. ^ "Margunn Bjørnholt". Emory University. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Margunn Bjørnholt". Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Anita Haslie (14 September 2010). "A Successful Work-Life Balance". Research Council of Norway Information Centre for Gender Research in Norway. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Belinda Luscombe (18 October 2010). "Week-On, Week-Off Parenting". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Belinda Luscombe (22 September 2010). "A Crazy 40-Year-Old Experiment Suggests Work-Life Balance Is Possible". TIME Healthland. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Johnny Gimmestad (3 October 2010). "Vekker oppsikt internasjonalt". Aftenposten. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Bosse Parbring (2011). "Delat föräldraskap, delad arbetstid". NIKK magasin (Nordic Gender Institute) 2011 (1). Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Linn Stalsberg (2011). "En krympet likestillingsdebatt". Forskningsmagasinet Apollon (University of Oslo) 2011 (1). Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Linn Hanssen (4 June 2006). "Likestilling er bra for kjærligheten". Dagbladet. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Beret Bråten (29 November 2005). "Delte arbeid ute og hjemme". Research Council of Norway Information Centre for Gender Research in Norway. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "EFFECT: Cross-national Polish–Norwegian project on work–life balance". Policy and Social Research. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Kristin Marie Skaar (24 May 2014). "– Klart vi kan jobbe mindre". 
  15. ^ Morgenbladet, 4–10 July 2014, pp. 6–7
  16. ^ "Mannsforsker ny leder i Norsk Kvinnesaksforening". Aftenposten. 2014-05-11. 
  17. ^ Board, International Alliance of Women
  18. ^ "Margunn Bjørnholt". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 

External links[edit]