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In Scandinavia, women's law was established as a distinct legal discipline in university teaching and legal scholarship in the mid 1970'ies. The University of Oslo (Norway) played a particularly pioneering role. At that time, there was general terminological agreement: the name of the discipline was kvinnerett in Norwegian, Kvinderet in Danish and kvinnoratt in Swedish.
During the last 40 years, Scandinavian Women's law has been mainstreamed into the general development of European law on gender equality and discrimination. The editors have chosen to keep the old terminology in the title of this book in order to point to the historical background of present day gender and law studies from Scandinavia. The European Union has pursued a strong gender equality and non-discrimination agenda since the 1970'ies. Denmark entered the EU 1 January 1973, Sweden and Finland 1 January 1995, Norway is not a member. Scandinavian women's law as developed through the last 40 years and EU gender equality law are thus contemporaries. Because of the direct effect and supremacy of EU law over national law, the interplay between elements of law stemming from EU-level and from national level has been particularly important in the Nordic EU-member states (Denmark, Sweden and Finland).