• About me

    I'm currently Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, Norway. I am PI of two projects funded by the Norwegian research council: Determined to succeed? Maturation, Motivation and Gender Gaps in Educational Achievement and Research Policy and the Boundaries of the Ideal Academic. I am also Deputy Project Manager for the Nordic Centre of Excellence Nordic Centre for Research on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation (NORDICORE).


    My research includes a range of research fields and research methods. I have published articles and book chapters on inequalities in education, gender segregation in the labor market, equality and diversity legislation, education and labor market outcomes among children of immigrants, and health disparities. Many of my projects involve international comparative research based on large scale quantitative data or document analyses. I completed my PhD in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York in 2010. My doctoral thesis compared inequality in education in the United States and Norway. I have my Master's Degree in Migration and Ethnic Studies from the University of Amsterdam (ISHSS).


    I recently co-edited a special issue on Gendered labour market (dis)advantages in Nordic welfare states (2021) and have also edited two book volumes on central gender equality topics. One edited volume was published together Mari Teigen in 2014 on gender segregation in the Norwegian labor market: Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet. In 2015 I edited an international volume together with Christian Imdorf and Kristinn Hegna on Gender Segregation in Vocational Education.


    In 2019, I was member of the commission Challenges to gender equality among children and youth (#UngIDag-utvalget). I am currently a member of the editorial board for the yearbook Comparative Social Research, and deputy member of the Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research.

  • Peer reviewed publications


    Imdorf, Christian, Kristinn Hegna, and Liza Reisel. 2015. Gender Segregation in Vocational Education. Comparative Social Research Vol 31. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


    Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen. 2014. Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

    Articles and Book Chapters

    Silander, Charlotte; Drange, Ida; Pietilä, Maria & Reisel, Liza (2022). Promoting Gender Inequality in STEM-oriented Universities: Institutional Policy Measures in sweden, Finland and Norway. I Griffin, Gabriele (Red.), Gender inequalities in tech-driven research and innovation. Bristol University Press. s. 93–108.


    Mustosmäki, Armi; Reisel, Liza; Sihto, Tiina & Teigen, Mari (2021). Gendered Labor Market (dis)advantages in Nordic Welfare States : Introduction to the Theme of the Special Issue. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies. 11(57), s. 1–9. doi: 10.18291/NJWLS.129190.


    Reisel, Liza; Nadim, Marjan & Brekke, Idunn (2020). The impact of having a child with special needs: Labour market adaptations of immigrant and majority mothers. Acta Sociologica. 64(4), s. 403–419. doi: 10.1177/0001699320971695.


    Reisel, Liza; Hermansen, Are Skeie & Kindt, Marianne Takvam (2019). Norway: Ethnic (In)equality in a Social Democratic Welfare State. I Stevens, Peter A. J. & Dworkin, A. Gary (Red.), The Palgrave Handbook of Race and Ethnic Inequalities in Education. Palgrave Macmillan. s. 843–884. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-94724-2_20.


    Reisel, Liza; Østbakken, Kjersti Misje & Attewell, Paul (2019). Dynamics of Claims Making and Gender Wage Gaps in the United States and Norway. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society. 26(1), s. 164–187. doi: 10.1093/sp/jxy019.


    Reisel, Liza; Bredal, Anja & Lidén, Hilde (2018). Transnational schooling among children of immigrants in Norway: The significance of Islam. I Bezorgmehr, Mehdi & Kasinitz, Philip (Red.), Growing up Muslim in Europe and the United States. Routledge. s. 153–171. doi: 10.4324/9781315279091-9.


    Seehuus, Sara Marie Jorunn & Reisel, Liza (2017). Betydningen av sosial bakgrunn for kjønnsdeling i høyere utdanning. Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning. 58(3), s. 284–310. doi: 10.18261/ISSN.1504-291X-2017-03-02.


    Sharon R. Sznitman, Liza Reisel, Atika Khurana, Socioeconomic background and high school completion: Mediation by health and moderation by national context, Journal of Adolescence, Volume 56, April 2017, Pages 118-126, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.02.004 (Access free until April 8 at: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1UZprVu8lO0to)


    Brekke, Idunn and Liza Reisel. 2015. "The Impact of Birthweight and Adolescent Health on Educational Attainment." Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research:16. doi: 10.1080/00313831.2015.1066442.


    Reisel, Liza. 2015. "The Meaning of Ethnic Equality in Scandinavian Anti-Discrimination Legislation." Nordic Journal of Migration Research 5(1):19-27. doi: 10.2478/njmr-2014-0023.


    Reisel, Liza, Kristinn Hegna and Christian Imdorf. 2015. "Gender Segregation in Vocational Education: Introduction." In Imdorf, Christian, Kristinn Hegna, and Liza Reisel (ed.) Gender Segregation in Vocational Education, Comparative Social Research Vol. 31: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


    Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen. 2015. "Kontinuitet og Endring - Kjønnsdeling på arbeidsmarkedet." In Nordberg, Roll-Hansen, Sandmo, Sandvik (ed.) Myndighet og medborgerskap: Festskrift til Gro Hagemann på 70-årsdagen 3. september 2015: Novus Forlag.


    Heil, Scott, Liza Reisel and Paul Attewell. 2014. "College Selectivity and Degree Completion." American Educational Research Journal 51(5):913-35. http://aer.sagepub.com/content/51/5/913.


    Reisel, Liza. 2014. "Legal Harmonization and Intersectionality in Swedish and Norwegian Anti-Discrimination Reform." Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society 21(2):218-40. http://sp.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/2/218.


    Reisel, Liza. 2014. "Kjønnsdeling på tvers." In Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen (ed.) Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet: Gyldendal Akademisk.


    Reisel, Liza. 2014. "Kjønnsdelte Utdanningsvalg." In Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen (ed.) Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet: Gyldendal Akademisk.


    Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen. 2014. "Det Kjønnsdelte Arbeidsmarkedet." In Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen (ed.) Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet: Gyldendal Akademisk.


    Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen. 2014. "Vaner og Vendepunkter." In Reisel, Liza and Mari Teigen (ed.) Kjønnsdeling og etniske skiller på arbeidsmarkedet: Gyldendal Akademisk.


    Reisel, Liza. 2013. "From Abstract to Concrete : The Practical Relevance of Parents’ Economic and Cultural Capital for Persistence in Higher Education." Pp. 379 in Class and Stratification Analysis, Vol. 30, Comparative Social Research: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


    Reisel, Liza. 2013. "Is More Always Better? Early Career Returns to Education in the United States and Norway." Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 31:49-68. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0276562412000558.


    Reisel, Liza. 2013. "Mot et Flerdimensjonalt Likestillingsapparat." In Bråten B. and Thun C. (ed.) Krysningspunkter. Likestillingspolitikk i et flerkulturelt Norge: Akademika forlag.


    Attewell, Paul, Scott Heil and Liza Reisel. 2012. "What Is Academic Momentum? And Does It Matter?". Educational evaluation and policy analysis 34(1):27-44. http://epa.sagepub.com/content/34/1/27.


    Borchorst, Anette, Lenita Freidenvall, Johanna Kantola, Liza Reisel and Mari Teigen. 2012. "Institutionalizing

    Intersectionality in the Nordic Countries? Anti-Discrimination and Equality in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden." Pp. 240 in Institutionalizing Intersectionality: The Changing Nature of European Equality Regimes: Palgrave Macmillan.


    Reisel, Liza, Laurence Lessard-Phillips and Philip Kasinitz. 2012. "Entering the Labor Market." Pp. 97-128 In Crul, Maurice and John Mollenkopf (ed.) The Changing Face of World Cities : Young Adult Children of Immigrants in Europe and the United States: Russell Sage Foundation.


    Attewell, Paul, Scott Heil and Liza Reisel. 2011. "Competing Explanations of Undergraduate Noncompletion." American Educational Research Journal 48(3):536-59. http://aer.sagepub.com/content/48/3/536.


    Reisel, Liza. 2011. "Two Paths to Inequality in Educational Outcomes : Family Background and Educational Selection in the United States and Norway." Sociology of education 84(4):261-80. http://soe.sagepub.com/content/84/4/261.


    Sznitman, Sharon R., Liza Reisel and Daniel Romer. 2011. "The Neglected Role of Adolescent Emotional Well-Being in National Educational Achievement: Bridging the Gap between Education and Mental Health Policies." Journal of Adolescent Health 48(2):135-42. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X10003058.


    Brekke, Idunn and Liza Reisel. 2010. "Minority Dropout in Higher Education : A Comparison of the United States and Norway Using Competing Risk Event History Analysis." European Sociological Review 26(6):691-712. http://esr.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/6/691.

  • Work in Progress

    Ongoing projects

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    Nordic Centre of Excellence for Research on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation (NORDICORE)

    Financed by Nordforsk

    At a time where scientific excellence and international
    competition is increasing in significance and our welfare states are under ever greater pressure, it is crucial to produce solid knowledge about gender balance and diversity in research and innovation on
    which to base further policies and practices in the field.


    The project seeks to accomplish five inter-related major objectives, each constituting a pillar of dedicated activities:


    First: To assess the impact of equality policies already implemented in Nordic academic institutions. The NORDICORE Centre of Excellence
    will produce new and critical knowledge about which types of measures have had an impact on gender balance in Nordic academic

    Second: To identify barriers both internal to research organizations and external to them, impeding gender equality and inclusion, and
    suggest ways to overcome these barriers. We focus on two fundamental barriers at work in creating unequal opportunities in career
    development, a) (implicit) biases among gatekeepers in central decision making positions and b) biases in the rules of the game of career

    Third: To understand challenges to gender equality in research and innovation within the larger labour market contexts in the Nordic
    countries. This major objective emerges from a central hypothesis that many of the mechanisms at work in sustaining gender inequalities in
    the research and innovation area are paralleled by similar mechanisms in other areas of the labour market.

    Fourth: To bring words to action by engaging stakeholders at all stages of the research. This major objective is founded on a simple
    hypothesis that engaging stakeholders in the research process will produce better results, where impact is part and parcel of the process. By
    involving stakeholders and policy makers we will make sure that our results will be relevant, in order to contribute to real and lasting change.

    Fifth: To encourage knowledge exchange among national and international experts, researchers, students, policy makers, stakeholders,
    managers, equality workers and other interested parties through a range of activities such as workshops, seminars, conferences and
    researcher education.

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    Determined to succeed? Maturation, Motivation and the Gender Gaps in Educational Achievement

    Financed by the Research Council of Norway

    In Norway and most industrialized countries, girls get better school grades than boys. As they grow older, young women outperform young men in terms of grades and graduation in upper secondary education, as well as enrollment in, and graduation from, higher education. Currently, about 60 per cent of the students at most Norwegian universities are women.

    The project aims to further our understanding of why boys may be lagging behind girls, or, in other words, why girls seem to be doing consistently better than boys in school. The project combines insights from various disciplines: sociology, economics, political science and medical science. We study two possible mechanisms – differences in maturity, and differences in motivation – and investigate how these interact with the school system, the labor market and student characteristics. We also study how gender differences in education has changed over time, as well as how the policy debates on the topic have developed over time.


    The project consists of three main parts:

    1. The Maturation Channel

    In Part I, the maturation channel, we study to what extent the timing of maturation for girls and boys can help explain the gender achievement gap in education. We also analyze the interplay between the gender difference in maturity and educational tracking, as well as potential consequences of these gender differences for later education and labor market outcomes.

    2. The Motivational Channel

    In Part II, the motivation channel, we study education as investment, using cross-national data on academic performance and labor market outcomes. We study to what extent the gender gap in educational achievement can be explained by systematic variation in the value of good grades in gender segregated labor markets.

    3. Historical Development: Differences and Policy Debates

    Finally, Part III investigates the national and international policy debates about the gender gap in education, as well as the historical development of the phenomenon over the course of the 20th century, so that we can better understand the problem we are attempting to solve.

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    Research Policy and the Boundaries of the Ideal Academic

    Financed by the Research Council of Norway

    In this project we investigate the impact of recent trends toward internationalization and excellence in Norwegian and international research policies, on recruitment and self-selection in Norwegian academia. A main question is how gatekeepers within academic institutions, and aspiring academics, adapt and respond to an occupational landscape that is increasingly international and competitive.


    Our focus will be on the dynamics of gender, but studied through an intersectional lens, where national/ethnic origin, age, and family, emerge as key intersecting dimensions. Who does the system work for, and who falls through?

    Project Aim

    This project will explore questions that go beyond the individual institutional setting in order to advance our understanding of the interplay and possible conflict between research policy and equality policy, and how these contribute to diversify or homogenize Norwegian academic institutions.

    Against this backdrop, a pressing question is what kinds of academics are recruited within the current research political context, and who are the institutions able to attract? How do gatekeepers and potential candidates interpret, and act on, the current research political signals? Moreover, how does the institutional implementation of research political goals affect the development of diverse research perspectives and approaches?

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    Active Measures to Promote Equality and the Duty to Report (ARP)

    Financed by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Families

    All Norwegian public authorities and employers are obliged to work actively, targeted and systematically to promote equality and prevent discrimination. This obligation is called the activity duty and the duty to issue a statement (ARP). The Equality and Anti-discrimination Act states that employers shall prevent discrimination and promote equality on the grounds of gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion/belief, ethnicity, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities.


    This project aims to develop new knowledge about public authorities and employers’ activity duty and duty to issue a statement. The research questions are: What role do the duties play in the employers’ equality and anti-discrimination work? How are the duties understood and lived up to? What promotes and hinders employers’ equality and anti-discrimination work?


    To answer the research questions, we will conduct interviews with employers about their work with ARP, analyse public documents, study the implications of ARP through register data, and investigate how the Equality and Anti-discrimination Act is legally enforced. In addition to studying these questions empirically, we will review the existing literature and develop the theoretical understandings of multi-dimensional anti-discrimination work in a Norwegian context.

  • Project Archive

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    Gender Segregation in the Labour Market: Comparative Perspectives and Welfare State Challenges

    Financed by the Research Council of Norway

    In this research project we investigate the ways in which women and men are unequally placed in the labour market. We study the mechanisms that contribute to different educational choices among boys and girls, and what happens in the transition from education to work. Once men and women have entered the labour market, there are processes at play that contribute further to gender gaps in career development and wages. We study how different welfare state arrangements affect these developments through comparing Norway with other countries.


    We use different kinds of data sources. Some questions are answered by using available large scale survey data, some by using data from Norwegian public registries that follow the population over many years, and some by collecting new data through case studies and questionnaires.


    The project team consists of researchers from the Institute for Social Research in collaboration with the University of Oslo and the Oslo and Akershus College of Applied Sciences. For the international comparisons we collaborate with researchers at Boston University, Wellesley College, UC San Diego and the University of Bern.

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    Gender Differences in Occupation and Sector Mobility in Norway

    Financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

    The purpose of the project is to examine the degree of gender segregation in the Norwegian labour market since the beginning of the 1990s. The project is fourfold: First, to map and examine trends in labour mobility between occupations, industries and sectors, and to identify occupations and educations with high turnover. Secondly, to quantify and get insight into the contribution from i) changes in labour demand and ii) labour supply. Thirdly, the project will shed light on trends in gender segregation over the life cycle. Forth, map and systematize scientific research in Europe, focusing on the Nordic countries. In addition we will perform comparative empirical analysis on the labour mobility patterns in Europe. The main contribution of this project is to measure developments in gender segregation in the labour market and in the educational sector, over a long period of time. To our knowledge, the latter exercise for the first time.

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    Ethnic Differences in Labour Market Participation, Health and Sickness Absence among Parents Caring for Chronically Ill or Disabled Children

    Financed by the Research Council of Norway

    The aim of this project is to investigate how mothers and fathers caring for chronically ill or disabled children balance work and care, and how this extra "burden" may influence parents' health, well-being, labour market attachment and sickness absence.


    The project will particularly contribute with more knowledge about how immigrant families from different countries are affected by having chronically ill or disabled children, and we will study how gender, occupation and education is associated with strategies and patterns of balancing work and care, and how this affects the parents' sickness absence. The project has a qualitative and a quantitative component. The qualitative component consists of interviews and focus groups with parents from Pakistan, Vietnam and Poland that have chronically ill or disabled children. In the quantitative subproject we combine a number of public registries from the Norwegian labour and welfare administration (NAV) and Statistics Norway (SSB). Through these registries we can identify mothers and fathers with seriously ill or disabled children and track their labour market attachment and sickness
    absence over time.

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    Educational Trajectories: Choices, Constraints and Contexts

    Financed by the Research Council of Norway

    Education often leads to a better positioning in the labour market, including higher earnings at the individual level, as well as economic growth for society as a whole. Both from an equal rights standpoint and from a profitability standpoint it is therefore desirable to equalize opportunities for educational success. In order to do so it is important to map and understand existing educational inequalities and their consequences for labour market outcomes.


    Important questions are: Do urbanicity or region affect patterns of educational program choice? How do gender differences in educational trajectories amplify, reduce or interact with other forms of inequalities, along dimensions such as ethnicity, social class or country of origin? Is ethnic school segregation negative for student performance? Does health during childhood and adolescence influence educational outcomes such as grades and completion? Is health a mediating factor between family resources and educational outcomes?


    Our project aims to produce new knowledge that will have clear policy relevance. We will produce new knowledge on important aspects of the educational system, and especially on themes related to pathways in the educational system, the interplay between health and educational outcomes, the interplay between ethnic segregation and student performance, and finally the interplay between the educational sector and the labour market.

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