University of Oulu

Sarkki, S.; Dalla Torre, C.; Fransala, J.; Živojinović, I.; Ludvig, A.; Górriz-Mifsud, E.; Melnykovych, M.; Sfeir, P.R.; Arbia, L.; Bengoumi, M.; Chorti, H.; Gramm, V.; López Marco, L.; Ravazzoli, E.; Nijnik, M. Reconstructive Social Innovation Cycles in Women-Led Initiatives in Rural Areas. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1231.

Reconstructive social innovation cycles in women-led initiatives in rural areas

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Author: Sarkki, Simo1; Torre, Cristina Dalla2,3; Fransala, Jasmiini1;
Organizations: 1Cultural Anthropology, University of Oulu, 90570 Oulu, Finland
2Institute for Regional Development, Eurac Research, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
3Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF), University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
4Institute of Forest, Environment and Natural Resource Policy, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), 1180 Vienna, Austria
5European Forest Institute, Forest Policy Research Network, 1180 Vienna, Austria
6European Forest Institute, Mediterranean Facility (EFIMED), 08025 Barcelona, Spain
7Forest Science and Technology Center of Catalonia (CTFC), European Forest Institute, 25280 Solsona, Spain
8Economics and Social Sciences Research Unit, Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
9SEEDS-Int, Centre Ivoire, Sin el Fil 2707 5501, Lebanon
10FAO Regional Office for North Africa, Tunis 1000, Tunisia
11Cooperative Research, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ), 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
12Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-03-29


Social innovations can tackle various challenges related to gender equity in rural areas, especially when such innovations are initiated and developed by women themselves. We examine cases located in rural areas of Canada, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, and Serbia, where women are marginalized by gender roles, patriarchal values, male dominated economy and policy, and lack of opportunities for education and employment. Our objective is to analyze five case studies on how women-led social innovation processes can tackle gender equity related challenges manifested at the levels of everyday practice, institutions, and cognitive frames. The analyses are based on interviews, workshops, literature screening, and are examined via the qualitative abductive method. Results summarize challenges that rural women are facing, explore social innovation initiatives as promising solutions, and analyze their implications on gender equity in the five case studies. Based on our results we propose a new concept: reconstructive social innovation cycle. It refers to is defined as cyclical innovation processes that engage women via civil society initiatives. These initiatives reconstruct the existing state of affairs, by questioning marginalizing and discriminative practices, institutions, and cognitive frames that are often perceived as normal. The new concept helps with to assessing the implications that women-led social innovations have for gender equity.

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Series: Sustainability
ISSN: 2071-1050
ISSN-E: 2071-1050
ISSN-L: 2071-1050
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Article number: 1231
DOI: 10.3390/su13031231
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 616 Other humanities
Funding: The authors are grateful to the European Commission for financial support to the project on Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) provided from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 677622. Contribution of the author from the James Hutton Institute to this study was also partly funded by the Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government through its Strategic Research Programme (2016–2021). The Nunavut/Canada case study was supported by Nordforsk Nordic Centre of Excellence: Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities (REXSAC: project number 76938).
EU Grant Number: (677622) SIMRA - Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (