Project History

The development of the GaW database is an integral component of the Gender and Work research project, having grown out of the project’s research questions. At the same time, the aim from the outset has been for the database to be accessible to other researchers who wish to pose different questions to the source material. In other words, Gender and Work is both a research project and an infrastructure project.

Following are some important points in the history of the research project and the database:


  • In the spring, Anna Hultén at the Uppsala University Library, gave the GaW researchers a QGIS course including two workshops.
  • All GaW researchers gathered in the GaW lab and worked full time in the new register tool in the GaW database 2-5 May.
  • Workshop at IISH in Amsterdam, 14-17 May, in cooperation with Karin Hofmeester (host) and Danielle van den Heuvel. All current researchers in GaW participated, as well as researchers in Amsterdam. The presentations and discussions were mostly on the possibility of comparative studies and method development.
  • In August, we were visited by the system analyst Josef Höglund from CEDAR, Umeå University when we had 'LAN day' and everybody registered verbs in the database.
  • Caroline Laske, lecturer and research fellow at the University of Louvain, Belgium, is guest researcher during a week in September.


  • In January, Örjan Kardell participated in the radio program Släktband.
  • In March, Maria Ågren gave a talk about a research project concerned with petitions as a historical source at Vitterhetsakademin, Stockholm.
  • In March, Sofia Ling gave a talk titled “Women’s demands for their right to work, support themselves and trade: Stockholm 1650–1750” (via zoom) at the Women’s History Seminar, UK.
  • Maria Ågren, Karin Hassan Jansson Jonas Lindström attended a research conference on the 28–29 April at the University of Exeter, UK.
  • Jonas Lindström presented research within GaW at two seminars at the University of Cambridge, UK (The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure).
  • In May, PhD student Eliska Bujokova from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, visited GaW at Uppsala University.
  • In May, Karin Hassan Jansson mentioned the GaW research project in a blog on the Swedish Historical Association’s website (Svenska Historiska Föreningens hemsida), in connection with her taking office as the association’s president.
  • In May, Sofia Ling and Marie Ulväng gave a talk about women’s and men’s work in the Västmanland court register 1720–1880 in Västerås City Hall. The organizer was the Västerås city archive.
  • Master’s student Asger Wienberg, Lund University, did an internship with GaW in the spring.
  • For five months, PhD student Birgit Dober from the University of Vienna was a visiting researcher at GaW.
  • At The International Conference of the European Rural History Organization (EURHO), in Uppsala, 20–23 June, Karin Hassan Jansson, Jonas Lindström, Sofia Ling, and Maria Ågren participated, in collaboration with Jane Whittle and Mark Hailwood, University of Exeter, UK.
  • Jonas Lindström participated the 11–15 July in a summer school in digital humanities at the University of Oxford, UK.
  • Professor Karin Hofmeester, Amsterdam/Antwerp, was a visiting researcher at GaW for a month during the autumn.
  • Karin Hassan Jansson, and Jonas Lindström participated in Nordiska historikermötet in Gothenburg 8–11 August.
  • In September, Professor Karin Hofmeester and Dr. Claude Chevaleyre presented the research project Global Labor History at IISH at a half-day seminar organized by GaW, at Uppsala University.
  • Master’s student Sigrid Ejemar, Uppsala University, did an internship with GaW in the autumn.
  • In October, Karin Hassan Jansson spoke about the GaW project at a lesson for a high school class at Katedralskolan, Uppsala.
  • In October, Sofia Ling held a lesson about the database GaW for a high school class in year 2 at Rudbecksgymnasiet in Sollentuna.
  • Karin Hassan Jansson presented results from the research project’s phase GaW2 at the Svenska Arbetarhistorikermötet in Helsingborg, October 27–28.
  • In November, Karin Hassan Jansson participated as a GaW employee in a workshop at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium.
  • On November 6, Jonas Lindström was awarded the Royal Gustav Adolf Academy Award for his contributions to history and digital humanities.
  • An interview with Maria Ågren was published in Historikan number 4, 2022.
  • At the Finska historikermötet in Tampere on October 20, Maria Ågren was the keynote speaker and spoke under the title “In search of practice: lessons from the Swedish Gender and Work project”.
  • GaW published a Christmas calendar on its website for the first time with “the verb of the day”.


  • By 11 January, there were 19,562 verb phrases collected within the GaW2 project (43,920 in the whole database).
  • A project meeting was held at Haga Castle, August 23–25, with the following researchers in GaW2: Maria Ågren, Jonas Lindström, Karin Hassan Jansson, Marie Ulväng, Sofia Ling, Caroline Lindroth, Christopher Pihl, Örjan Kardell, Carl Mikael Carlsson, Jezzica Israelsson , Linnea Henningsson.
  • Sofia Ling presents (via zoom) the database GaW at Åbo Akademi, Cultural history of work, in January.
  • Maria Ågren is awarded a prize from the Royal Society of Art and Sciences of Uppsala.
  • Bob Pierik, Amsterdam, visits the GaW group as a guest researcher during the autumn.
  • Master’s student Romain Rafai, Uppsala University, did an internship with GaW in the autumn.
  • In November 2021, the scientific advisory board convened in Uppsala. The board consists of Joachim Eibach, Bern, Danielle van den Heuvel, Amsterdam, Amy L. Erickson, Cambridge, Mark Hailwood, Bristol, Ann-Catrin Östman, Åbo, Hilde Sandvik, Oslo, Leif Runefelt, Södertörn och Ulrika Holgersson, Lund.


  • Linnea Henningsson is employed as a research assistant in February.
  • Sofia Ling is recruited as project coordinator from August.
  • Master student Niklas Pettersson did an internship with GaW in the autumn.
  • The PhD project of Caroline Lindroth, the mining city of Sala is included in the GaW2-project.
  • At the end of the year, the collection and registration of data for GaW2 is completed.
  • In January, the scientific advisory board convened in Uppsala. The board consists of Joachim Eibach, Bern, Danielle van den Heuvel, Amsterdam, Amy L. Erickson, Cambridge, Mark Hailwood, Bristol, Ann-Catrin Östman, Åbo, Hilde Sandvik, Oslo, Leif Runefelt, Södertörn och Ulrika Holgersson, Lund.
  • Because of the ongoing pandemic (corona), no conferences, workshops and sessions were organised in real life. In June a seminar online was held with the Dutch ‘Freedom of the Streets’ project.
  • In October, Maria Ågren gave a talk online at the International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam.
  • Members of the GaW group participated online in a conference organised by Urban Claesson (18 November), Margaret Hunt & Leos Müller (26-27 November). They gave a keynote paper at the Third Digital History Sweden conference (3 December).
  • Karin Hassan Jansson and Jonas Lindström were awarded the Disa Prize by Uppsala University for their book Horet i Hälsta: En sann historia från 1600-talet (Natur och Kultur 2018).
  • Maria Ågren is awarded the Uppsala University Rudbeck Medal.
  • A monograph about the verb-oriented methos and the area of investigation in GaW2 is published, Fantastiska verb. Hur man fångar uppgifter om kön och arbete, Västmanland 1720-1880, Jonas Lindström ed. (Opuscula).


  • The so-called petitions project is granted funds within the research program DIGARV. The project is a collaboration between Uppsala University and the National Archives (Riksarkivet and Landsarkivet, Uppsala). Within Uppsala University, the Department of History, the Department of Linguistics and Philology and the IT Department participate. Markus Falk, Linda Oja and Tomas Wilkinson start working on the petition project.
  • Örjan Kardell is employed as a researcher starting in May. Sarah Vorminder is employed as a research assistant, beginning in August.
  • Professor Carmen Sarasúa, Barcelona, has been a guest researcher at GaW in the autumn.
  • Maria Ågren is awarded distinguished professor grant by the Swedish Research Council (VR).


  • Caroline Lindroth is accepted as PhD student in GaW as of January.
  • The scientific advisory board of GaW2 meet for the first time in Uppsala in January. The board consists of Joachim Eibach, Bern, Danielle van den Heuvel, Amsterdam, Amy L. Erickson, Cambridge, Mark Hailwood, Bristol, Ann-Catrin Östman, Åbo, Hilde Sandvik, Oslo, Leif Runefelt, Södertörn, Ulrika Holgersson, Lund.
  • In spring GaW scholars take active part in the European Social Science History Conference in Belfast and in the conference Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work, arranged by Glasgow university.

Read the programme from the conference "Invisible Hands" 2018 (pdf)

  • GaW organises the conference "Doing House: Social, Cultural and Political Practices in Early Modern Europe" at Vitterhetsakademien in June. The conference brings together junior and senior scholars from the Swiss research group "Doing House and Family" and the Danish-Swedish research group LUMEN (Lutheran Mentality).

Read the programme from the conference "Doing House: Social, Cultural and Political Practices in Early Modern Europe" 2018 (pdf)

  • As of 1 June, 28 312 verb phrases describing sustenance activities have been registered in the GaW database, 21 432 of which have been quality checked and made publicly available.
  • Karin Hassan Jansson and Jonas Lindström publish their jointly written monograph Horet i Hälsta: En sann historia från 1600-talet (Natur & Kultur 2018). The book was written within the GaW project.


  • The main results from GaW1 are published in the multi-authored monograph Making a Living, Making a Difference: gender and work in early modern Europe (Oxford University Press 2017).
  • Maria Ågren publishes the monograph The State as Master: Gender, state formation and commercialisation in urban Sweden, 1650-1780 (Manchester University Press 2017). The book was written within the GaW project.
  • Jonas Lindström, Karin Hassan Jansson, Rosemarie Fiebranz, Benny Jacobsson & Maria Ågren publish "Mistress or maid: the structure of women’s work in Sweden, 1550–1800", in Continuity and Change 32 (2), 2017, 225–252.
  • The GaW team organises a workhop for junior scholars from Sweden and Finland in November 2017.
  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond [The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation] grants 4 264 000 SEK to the infrastructure GaW. Kungliga Vitterhetsakademien grants 250 000 SEK for the same purpose.
  • Systems analysts at CEDAR, Umeå university, are tasked to upgrade the web applications of the GaW database.


  • Sofia Ling publishes her monograph Konsten att försörja sig: Kvinnors arbete i Stockholm 1650-1750 (Stockholmia Förlag 2016). The book was written within the GaW project.
  • The Wallenberg Foundations decide to prolong Maria Ågren's Wallenberg Scholar grant with another 15 milion SEK for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2021, making it possible to realise the GaW2-project. Karin Hassan Jansson and Jonas Lindström are appointed research leaders.
  • Marie Ulväng and Carl Mikael Carlsson are hired as postdoctoral fellows and Jezzica Israelsson is accepted as PhD student in GaW, all as of 1 January 2017.


  • The research project and database are presented at the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala (Kungliga Vetenskaps Societeten i Uppsala), the Center for Gender Research, and Folkuniversitetet.
  • Results from GaW are presented at the Nordic Women’s and Gender History Conference (Nordiska Kvinno- och Genushistorikermötet) in Stockholm and at the International Congress of Historical Science (Världshistorikerkongressen) in Jinan, China. In conjunction, a segment is produced for Swedish Science Radio (Vetenskapsradion).
  • The database and its methodology are presented at seminars held at Swedish Academy Dictionary of the Swedish Language (cf. OED) in Lund, Cambridge University, and Gothenburg University.
  • GaW is identified as infrastructure of potentially national interest by Uppsala University.
  • GaW’s new website is launched. The database, which contains roughly 19 000 activities and 500 000 words of digitized source text, is accessible for other researchers, students, and the general public.


  • A frozen version of the database, GaW 2014, is created as a basis of the research project’s final report, Making a Living, Making a Difference.
  • At the Swedish Historians’ Meeting (Svenska historikermötet) in Stockholm, an entire session is devoted to GaW’s results. Rosemarie Fiebranz participates in a session concerning research infrastructure.
  • In Autumn 2014 the GaW-team takes part in a historic conference at Glasgow University about the work of women. As a direct result of the conference, an application is made to the Leverhulme Foundation for a corresponding European project, with Alexandra Shepard as the lead applicant. The project is approved Spring 2015.
  • Maria Ågren presents the research project and the database at a conference in Rome.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz is appointed senior lecturer in history, with special emphasis on historical research infrastructure.
  • Julie Hardwick, University of Texas, and Sheilagh Ogilvie, University of Cambridge, are guest researchers for the project.


  • In Spring 2013 the Department of History enters a new three-year service agreement with DDB for the GaW database.
  • The development of a new extraction tool is completed in March 2013.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz participates at a conference in Sheffield and Maria Ågren lectures at Jyväskylä University and Arbetets Museum in Norrköping.
  • Together, the entire project team (16 people) publishes “the article "Praktiker som gör skillnad: Om den verb-inriktade metoden" in Historisk tidskrift’s thematic issue on Method (133:3).
  • In December 2013 GaW is granted more than 4 million Swedish crowns by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Memorial Fund. This grant is to be used to improve the geographical scope of the database as well as to create a more efficient and effective website.


  • The Gender and Work research project arranges an international conference held at The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Vitterhetsakademien) in Stockholm.

Read more from the conference "Gender and Work in Early Modern Europe" 2012

  • Maria Ågren presents the project  “Genus och arbete i det tidigmoderna Sverige" in Historisk tidskrift 132:1.
  • A new server for GaW is purchased.
  • Ann-Catrin Östman from Åbo Akademi is guest researcher for the project.
  • Articles about GaW are presented in the university’s personnel magazine, Universen and its annual magazine, Horisont.


  • At Uppsala University’s internal evaluation of the quality of research (KoF 2011), the GaW database is identified as especially interesting and valuable: “We find the GaW database to be a highly innovative and valuable project which represents both continuity and renewal in research [---] We strongly recommend that the university allocates the necessary funds to maintain and ensure the long-term preservation of the database”.
  • The anthology Levebröd: Vad vet vi om tidigmodern könsarbetsdelning? (Opuscula Historica Upsaliensia 47), edited by Benny Jacobsson and Maria Ågren, is published.
  • “Making Verbs Count: The Research Project ‘Gender and Work’ and its Methodology”, by Rosemarie Fiebranz, Erik Lindberg, Jonas Lindström, and Maria Ågren, is published in Scandinavian Economic History Review 59:3.
  • During October 2011 work is begun to develop a better extraction tool for the database.
  • Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen from Åbo University is guest researcher for the project.


  • The chair of the Department of History signs an acknowledgement of receipt of the database. A three-year service contract with DDB takes effect.
  • Amy Louise Erickson from the University of Cambridge is the project’s first guest researcher.
  • In Spring 2010 a new grant for research infrastructure is sought from both VR and Riksbankens jubileumsfond. Both applications are approved to grant the entire amount requested. Because regulations do not allow for collecting two grants for the same purpose, the VR grant is chosen.
  • The VR grant includes a sum earmarked for the development of an automated “verb identification tool”. This concrete work is carried out by Eva Pettersson as a Ph.D. project, under the supervision of Joakim Nivre at the Department of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University.
  • The entire project team (14 people) participates at a conference in Cambridge in September 2012.

Read more from the conference "Women's Work in Early Modern Europe" 2012

  • Rosemarie Fiebranz presents the GaW database at a workshop in Strasbourg, organized by the European Science Foundation.


  • A management team for the database is appointed. The team is responsible for the registration project, including day-to-day decisions regarding what to include.
  • In June 2009 Maria Ågren is awarded a grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Wallenberg Scholar). The grant extends to 31 December 2014 and makes it possible for a large research group to collaborate on the same questions, as well as to work cooperatively to collect and process material.
  • The functionality of the database is subjected to rigorous testing during the autumn.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz and Jonas Lindstgröm present the database at a conference in Barcelona.


  • The application to VR is approved, with funding granted from May 2008.
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz is named project coordinator.
  • The Demographic Data Base at Umeå University (DDB) is commissioned to develop a specially-designed database.
  • A focus group of scholars is appointed.


  • Maria Ågren receives funding from the Department of History to make an inventory of source material and to write an application to the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, or VR) for a grant to develop research infrastructure.

Last modified: 2024-02-07