Money Talks: Gender Budgeting in the University of Iceland


  • Finnborg S. Steinþórsdóttir
  • Þorgerður Einarsdóttir
  • Thamar M. Heijstra
  • Gyða Margrét Pétursdóttir



University of Iceland, gender budgeting, distribution formula, transparency, system of budget allocation.


The article addresses the financial framework, decision-making and budgeting processes of the University of Iceland from a gender perspective. The newly appointed rector of the University of Iceland (elected 2015) together with the university council is currently revising the UI system of the distribution formula of budget allocation. This provides an opportunity to examine the system which is inspired by New Public Management, with emphasis on global competition and performance based indicators. The aim of the article is to scrutinize the current system of budget allocation and distribution and its significance when it comes to gender. We ask how the, allegedly gender neutral, system plays out for different schools and disciplines and for academics in different ranks, when the gender dimension is taken into account. We draw on empirical data collected as part of the GARCIA research project, Gendering the Academy and Research combating Career Instability and Asymmetries, which is supported by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union. To shed a light on the process we focus on the male-dominated School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (SENS) and the more feminised School of Social Sciences (SSS). The exploration shows that the financial framework, decision-making and budgeting processes at the University of Iceland are rather non-transparent, and biased in favour of the natural sciences. This applies to funding from the state; third party funding; the allocation of funding in the teaching part of the budgeting, as well as the research part. From the article it can be concluded that the current system contains an internal, though unintended, gender bias that needs to be corrected.

Author Biographies

Finnborg S. Steinþórsdóttir

Ph.D student, University of Iceland.

Þorgerður Einarsdóttir

Professor, University of Iceland.

Thamar M. Heijstra

Assistant Professor, University of Iceland.

Gyða Margrét Pétursdóttir

Assistant Professor, University of Iceland.




How to Cite

Steinþórsdóttir, F. S., Einarsdóttir, Þorgerður, Heijstra, T. M., & Pétursdóttir, G. M. (2016). Money Talks: Gender Budgeting in the University of Iceland. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 12(1), 171–194.



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