Thesis 2023

Specialization: Gender Studies

Lost amidst the chaos : The impact of Covid-19 on girls’ education in Malawi

“This research paper examines the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on girls’ education in Malawi. It provides a detailed analysis of the various factors that were exacerbated due to the pandemic, such as the digital divide, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and child labour, which all play a role in negatively impacting girls’ access to education. The study also considers the need to invest in quality education in emergencies, especially for girls and young women in order to ameliorate their educational opportunities and experiences. Through interviews, the paper examines the struggles that girls face in Malawi regarding education and how the pandemic has made it worse. The paper concludes that it is essential to invest heavily in digital inclusion and mental health services to ensure that girls are given quality access to education as their male counterparts.”


Specialization: Gender Studies

Black Women’s Joy and Why It Matters : Heavenly Creatures and the Politics of Feeling Good

“This master’s thesis is a study of the phenomena of Black women’s joy what it is, why it matters, and how it is helpful in resisting oppression, including racism, sexism, and social exclusion. It is an attempt to grasp the scope of the social exclusion of Black women in anti-Black and sexist dominant cultures. The Black experience entails learning through specified and insinuated language what one can and cannot do according to the barriers and rules of the dominant culture. Those social norms and ways of being are written and unwritten, and a tone policing exists by the dominant culture to reinforce said norms. The importance of this research aims to explore what Black women’s joy is and how Black women’s joy pushes back on the policing of Black women’s existence and the gender inequalities they experience. It resists the boxes or cages systemically created for Black women. The topic was inspired by the reality of how within the Black experience there is a necessity to navigate oppressive terrain that leaves Black women emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted and traumatised. Black women choosing to live with joy is a radical act. Thus, Black women’s joy, why it matters, and how it helps in resistance against oppression is a rigorous act of love. Personal experiences depicted via poetry, vignettes, and traditional academic writing is used to share the research and its findings. The vignettes as well as poetry are created from diary entries, which are a record of the researcher’s personal experiences of a Black American woman in general and while living as an international student in Finland in particular.

The theories of social exclusion, affect theory, feminist theory, social interaction, and social construction are used as a lens to view and better understand the extent of the marginalisation of Black women and how Black joy is effective as resistance to oppression. The materials for this thesis are personal accounts, autoethnographical material, that have been transformed into a suite of poetry that has been analysed using the methods of autoethnography and poetic inquiry. Experiences related to racial and gender inequality and social exclusion leave Black women with a particular trauma and exhaustion while simultaneously equipping them with particular skills that can lead them from trauma to triumph. Negative experiences can be transformed into positives. Black women’s lived experiences help them to understand their own power. When looking closely at Black women’s journeys of inequity and social exclusion, it is evident that they often acquire tools to handle adversity. There is a connection between one’s own trauma and learning to navigate unfavourable environments. Being able to experience and share joy is especially needed for Black women who are constantly inundated with inhumane acts of racism, sexism, and social exclusion. In response to such substantial issues, the message that “Black joy is an act of resistance” is central to their fight against oppression.”


Specialization: Gender Studies

Disposing of the narrative : How Black women make meaning of gendered racial socialization messages in Finland

“In this Master’s thesis, I critically engage with the concept of gendered racial socialization and inquire how socialization transmissions influence Black women’s experiences and identities in Finland. By accumulating knowledge from five semi-structured interviews, this introspection aims to explore the leverage of gendered racial socialization messages and understand how Black women in Finland make meaning of their experiences. Centering Black women’s authentic experience enables this thesis to illuminate how socialization messages informed by socially constructed ideas are circulated in a manner that objectifies Black women and influences their sense of self. The theoretical frameworks of critical race theory and intersectionality guide this research, supplementarily to phenomenological and narrative qualitative research approaches. The theoretical frameworks and research approaches converge to emphasize how the interview participants make meaning from their lived experiences and connect their experiences to societal issues. Notions such as white normativity, microaggressions, internalized racism, and belonging to Finnish society are integral to this research. Furthermore, the interviews establish the significance of cultivating radical self-love and defying the interpersonal consequences of gendered racial socialization messages. The general purpose of this research is to accentuate the authentic experiences of Black women in Finland and present discernment on how inequalities are sustained through gendered racial socialization messages.”


Specialization: Gender Studies

Close-Reading Belongingness Experience of Non-Traditional Muslim Women in Türkiye : Reçel Blog

“This thesis is a result of a quest to understand and to plead young, educated, Muslim women’s struggle for recognition in Türkiye in contemporary times. It emerged from my will to reflect on a personal experience as a young Muslim woman from Türkiye. Moreover, my desire to contribute to women’s empowerment, in general, has helped me to form this work. Thus, in this thesis, I analyze data from Reçel Blog (RB) through the close-reading method as well as utilize part of my own experiences via the autoethnography method.
RB is a blogging site that has been founded and run by a group of non-traditional Muslim women in Türkiye since 2014 to have a space for “women, especially for Muslim women to give voice to their daily experiences, their perception of social issues, their interests, curiosities, troubles, hopes, concerns, and struggles” (Reçel Blog, 2014). In this study, I utilize RB posts shared between January 2022-February 2023 to discuss the forms of social exclusion non-traditional Muslim women face in Türkiye.
Merging social exclusion and recognition theories, I argue that in Türkiye non-traditional Muslim women’s access to the main activities of the society in different spaces (public, secular, religious) is impaired. This issue is closely related to social recognition. Muslim women are denied proper social recognition which is a fundamental factor for one to be present in the social encounters, activities, and spaces as oneself. Therefore, in their case, missing social recognition and not being able to participate in activities of society without tiptoeing around entrenches their social exclusion. Moreover, it is a vicious cycle: being excluded impairs Muslim women’s self-realization process and not being able to reproduce themselves through various social encounters disempower them to resist against lack of social recognition. I conclude my study by discussing that RB is a tool used by non-traditional Muslim women to create their narratives to confront social exclusion and misrecognition in Türkiye.”