Professor Emerita Anna-Liisa Sysiharju of the Faculty of Education,
University of Helsinki, has done versatile research on education from
the point of view of students, teachers, teacher education, the school
and home. Gender comparisons have been a central element of Sysiharju's
Anna-Liisa Sysiharju's doctoral dissertation on the conceptions of
equality among female students entitled Equality, Home and Work was
completed in 1960. This work in the field of social psychology was among
the first Finnish studies on attitudes and roles. The topic originated
in Sysiharju's practical experiences as a teacher, for before her
academic career Sysiharju had worked at the Careers Counselling Office
of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and at an institute for household
management teachers (later the Institute for Home Economics Teachers).
Sysiharju studied at the University of Wisconsin in 1949-1950, and
focussed her research interests on social psychology and sociology,
especially women and gender roles. Sysiharju collected the empirical
material for her dissertation between 1951 and 1954, and wrote it while
After her dissertation, Sysiharju directed her interests towards
education. She took part in an extensive Nordic study on the upper
secondary school, resulting in several publications in the 1960's and
1970's. Sysiharju was appointed to the Swedish-language Professorship in
Education at the University of Helsinki in 1979. Before this, she had
been acting professor at the Universities of Joensuu and Helsinki on
After her retirement in 1982 , Sysiharju has continued doing research
and writing, but in a whole new field: she has done genealogical studies
on her family, the Gebhards and Siléns.
Sysiharju embarked on a familiar subject when she started writing the
history of home economics teacher training (1995). She has also been
actively involved in the recording of the history of women in war-time
1 Anna-Liisa Sysiharju talking at the 75th anniversary of
home economics education 1966.
2-4 Publication of Anna-Liisa Sysiharju's book on the history of home
economics teacher training, December 15, 1995.
Photos: Picture archive of Department of Home Economics and Craft Science,
University of Helsinki.