Public policy, gender equality and labour markets

Policy making in the Nordics is characterised by the welfare state and a culture of working together, from the cross-party parliamentary culture, to tripartite negotiations between the government, employers and employees, to gender inclusiveness in the workplace. Many of these aspects are seen as making up what is often referred to as the Nordic model. However, gender segregation within the workforce remains high and other complex paradoxes exist that must not be overlooked. This page seeks to provide articles on both the traditional view of the Nordics as well as research that deconstructs that view. New articles are added on a regular basis.


UN Member States were informed about Greenland's change of status from a colony to a county in 1954. Photo: Courtesy of UN publications.

2019.08.19 | Article, Simon Mølholm Olesen, Governance, Nation building

The Danish decolonisation of Greenland, 1945-54

An international discussion on decolonisation followed in the aftermath of the Second World War in the mid-1940s. The newly formed United Nations created some of the most important platforms for these discussions. Consequently, Danish politicians and civil servants feared that Greenland, the last of the Danish colonies, would attract negative…

Picture: Emigrants in Larsen's Square. Edvard Petersen, Public Domain (ARoS Aarhus Art Museum).

2019.07.17 | Article, Byron J. Nordstrom, Labour markets, Economy, Region-building

Emigration in the Nordics: an overview since 1800s

Emigration has been a part of population mobility in the Nordic region for centuries. The numbers were generally very small until the mid-nineteenth century when a wide variety of 'push factors', such as limited farming opportunities, and 'pull factors', such as the promise of cheap or free land, led to mass migration from Norden. In the…

Employers' federations in the Nordics have since early 1900s taken part in collective bargaining over workers' conditions.

2019.07.10 | The Quick Read, Byron J. Nordstrom, Labour markets

Employer federations in the Nordics

Along with their trade union counterparts, employer federations have been key players in the negotiation of nationwide agreements on wages and working conditions, as well as contributors to governmental policy formulation. In addition, this collaboration has served at times to obscure the focus of employers’ federations on economic growth and…

Support for the welfare state remains in the Nordics, even by those at the opposite ends of the political spectrum.

2019.06.25 | Article, Helena Kaarina Blomberg, Pauli Kettunen, Public policy, Governance

The Nordic welfare state: staying fit-for-purpose

There have been drastic changes to the political and economic climate since the inception of the Nordic welfare states in the twentieth century. Changes are required to meet the needs of today’s populations. People are less static than they once were; their roles both in and out of the job market change over time, and integration with the…

With the stroke of a pen by their foreign minister, the Americans acknowledged Danish sovereignty to the whole of Greenland. Photo: Nicola Thomas, Unsplash.

2019.06.21 | Original sources, Nation building, Law

USA's declaration on Danish sovereignty of Greenland, 1916

On 4th August 1916, the American government issued a declaration to the Danish government that it would not raise objections if Denmark extended its interests in Greenland to include the entire island. This was perhaps surprising given the 1832 Monroe Doctrine intended to limit European colonialism. The declaration paved the way for recognition of…

Map to show the growth of the now-called European Union, from the original six countries of the EEC to 28 members in 2019. Photo: teaching materials, https://europa.eu.

2019.06.14 | Original sources, Democracy, Law

EEC referenda in Denmark and Norway, 1972

Both Denmark and Norway held referenda on whether to join the European Economic Community in 1972. After Danes supported joining and Norwegians did not, this editorial was published in a federalist journal in which the editors try to understand the differing results.

Important export products from Sweden today include iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts and armaments), processed foods and motor vehicles. Photo: SPK ball bearings.

2019.06.13 | Article, Susanna Fellman, Economy

Economic development in the Nordic countries

The Nordic countries are today among the richest countries in the world measured by GDP per capita. These countries also come top in more or less every international comparison of competitiveness. This was not the case 150 years ago. In the mid-nineteenth century the Nordic economies lagged behind those of the leading industrialised nations. The…

The Oslo Stock Exchange, or 'Oslo Børs'. The financial and other markets were highly regulated in all the Nordic countries post-war, but this changed radically in the 1980s and 1990s. Photo: Colourbox.

2019.05.28 | The Quick Read, Susanna Fellman, Economy, Public policy

The 'Nordic model' of capitalism

The five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are often characterised as being welfare capitalist, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. However, the institutional frameworks and economic policy models have changed over time, and the ‘model’ used has varied between countries and…

Poster from Kvindefestival, held in Fælledparken, Copenhagen in 1980 which had the motto ‘The struggle against women’s oppression is international’. Photo: Courtesy of the Kvindehuset library, Copenhagen.

2019.05.21 | Article, Hannah Yoken, Gender, Reputation

Transnational interaction among feminist activists in the Nordic Countries, 1970s-2000

The Nordic countries are globally renowned as states that embrace gender equality. However, the region also has a rich history of feminist activism at the grassroots level. This history includes activism undertaken during ‘second wave’ feminism, from the late 1960s to the 1990s. During this period of time the women’s movements benefitted from…

A view of the skyline of the Danish capital Copenhagen which gave its name to the Copenhagen Declaration negotiated during Denmark's presidency of the Council of Europe in 2017/2018. Photo: Alessandro Bellone, Unsplash.

2019.04.26 | Article, Nicola Witcombe, Law, Governance, Minorities

The European Convention on Human Rights: Copenhagen Declaration 2018

The Copenhagen Declaration 2018 is a non-binding road map for the Council of Europe with respect to the European Convention on Human Rights. It was agreed by the 47 members of the Council of Europe during Denmark’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers from November 2017 to May 2018. The Danish government’s position was to push for greater…

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