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MFS scholarship became thesis in India

Published: 10 April 2017

Helena Sjöberg has studied the Master Programme in Architectural Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. She chose to go to India for her thesis to examine which gender roles that exist in the Indian culture and how these affect the participation of women in the local planning process. During her thesis she discovered that there still is a clear division between men and women regarding what their responsibilities are and that this division can hinder women from participating in the development of villages.

Why did you choose to go to India?

"’I´ve been wanting to go to India since I was a kid, so it was a purely selfish decision to look for something to research there - because I wanted to see and experience a foreign country basically. But I was also lucky that Lulea University of Technology already had contacts in India and that I managed to get the MFS-scholarship for field studies in developing countries which made the whole thing possible", says Helena Sjöberg.

What was the hardest part of this thesis?

"I think it’s difficult to write a thesis regardless of where you do it and what you write about; to be fully responsible and come up with an idea and a method on your own. For me the hardest part was to sort my impressions from India and its culture into something useful for my thesis without generalizing and simplifying too much. A lot of material did not enter into my thesis and gets to be random anecdotes I torture my friends with instead", says Helena.

What do you want to work with in the future?

"This is the worst question and one I constantly avoid answering when relatives ask. I’m still searching for a profession where I get to follow my own ideas and obsess about different things, while at the same time utilize the theories about planning that I’ve learned during the course of my education. My only expectation for the future is that I get to work with something that does more good than harm",  concludes Helena Sjöberg, newly appointed Master of Science in Architecture.

The title of Helena Sjöbergs thesis is Women’s participation in the planning process: A case study of rural villages in the Uttarkashi district. The supervisor was Jennie Sjöholm, assistant lecturer, and Agatino Rizzo, assistant professor at Luleå University of Technology.

Through a Minor Field Studies (MFS) scholarship students at the end of their university education may collect material for their dissertation or thesis for a Bachelor, Master or Master's Degree in a developing country.