Public policy, gender equality and labour markets:

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.


The official logo of the Tough Viking Race, the largest Nordic Obstacle Race with participants ranging from elite athletes to regular men and women (Permission for use: the Tough Viking Race).

2021.03.24 | Outlook, Barbora Žiačková, Saga Rosenström, Gender

Pop culture, Vikings and historic Nordic gender equality?

Gender equality is a fundamental part of the Nordic brand, and right-wing political actors as well as extremists use ideas of gender equality in support of anti-immigrant and racist agendas. The pop culture image of Viking women as ‘independent’ and ‘equal to men’ provides one way in which gender equality as an aspect of Nordicness has gained…

The Women Citizens’ College at Fogelstad in Sweden (1925-54) was an exceptional space for the development of radical thinking on women and children, peace, and the environment. Picture: 'Fogelstadgruppen' or the Fogelstad group (Public Domain/Wikipedia).

2021.03.08 | The Quick Read, Helena Forsås-Scott, Gender

Feminism in the Nordics: An historical overview to 1990

Feminism in the Nordics began in the second half of the 19th century with the struggle for female suffrage. The development of the welfare state in the era following the Second World War provided the political stability to allow feminist ideas to grow, but equality was far from being reached. While many key pieces of literature and feminist…

Elisabeth Staksrud is professor in media and communications at the University of Oslo.

2021.03.04 | Podcast, Elisabeth Staksrud, Media, Education

Norway: Uncovering Nordic Childhood in an Online World with Elisabeth Staksrud

Children being exposed to a certain level of risk is not always seen as a bad thing in the Nordics; exposure can give children the tools to deal with risk and help them to become resilient and independent. The attitude of caregivers, teachers and children in the Nordics to online risk also reflects this approach - while elsewhere in the world a…

Janne Holmén is Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

2021.02.15 | Podcast, Janne Holmén, Education, Public policy

Sweden: Uncovering Nordic Education and Society with Janne Holmén

This podcast tackles a wide-range of factors about the educational systems of the Nordic countries, focusing primarily on Sweden and comparisons with Finland. On the way, it answers the following questions: Why does the Finnish education system have such a good reputation around the world? After decades of reform, is the Swedish education…

Stefán Ólafsson is a Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Sociology, Anthropology and Folkloristics, University of Iceland. Photo: S. Ólafsson.

2021.02.03 | Podcast, Stefán Ólafsson, Public policy, Economy

Iceland: Uncovering the Nordic Welfare State with Stefán Ólafsson

Interested in the Nordic universal welfare systems and how effective welfare can be in times of crisis? How has Iceland fared compared to the other Nordic countries, before and after the Great Recession of 2008? Can this teach us anything about how to tackle Covid? Join the editor of nordics.info, Nicola Witcombe, on her virtual visit around the…

The interplay between schooling, religion, and political decision-making at the local and national level is complex. Listen to Mette Buchardt providing a historical overview of how all these issues weave together from 1950 to today. Photo: Yadid Levy, Norden.org (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

2021.01.28 | Podcast, Mette Buchardt, Education, Multiculturalism

Podcast: Migrant Children in the Nordics: A Conversation on Schooling

In current times, schools are often hot spots for education policy initiatives driven by party politics. Encounters between the majority ethnic group and newcomer children can be exaggerated or underplayed depending on the political context, and it can be a highly contested area. In this podcast, the head of Aalborg University’s Centre for…

Visual interpretations of disability on stamps issued by the Nordic governments for the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981. Collage: Author.

2021.01.22 | Article, Anna Derksen, Public policy

Disability policies and movements in the Nordic countries since 1945

During the last century, the situation of people with disabilities in the Nordic welfare states has changed dramatically. For a long time disability was regarded as an issue for the national welfare services, which had a marginalizing effect from a legal point of view, characterized by medical diagnostics, accommodation in mass institutions and…

Is the bubble of the Nordic Model being shattered by persistent questions over universal welfare and outside forces? Picture: Denny Müller, unsplash.

2020.12.11 | Podcast, Caroline de la Porte, Jonas Felbo-Kolding, Nicola Witcombe, Governance, Globalisation, Public policy

The Nordic Model at Risk?: Conversations on Regulation

An ageing population, immigration, tax evasion and incoming foreign workers are frequently cited as threats to the Nordic Model. The universal welfare state is built upon citizens and the state fulfilling their particular roles: the state providing childcare, healthcare and benefits in return for people working and paying their taxes (’the social…

Members of the armed forces on exercise in Sweden. Photo: Johannes Jansson, norden.org, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

2020.09.01 | Article, Beate Sløk Andersen, Gender, Culture, Education

Humor in the military professions: a case study on exclusion in the Nordics

In principle, all levels of the male-dominated professions in the Nordic countries are accessible to men and women alike. But, informal processes of exclusion may interfere with gender integration; an extensive use of humor can, for example, interfere with women’s attempts to become part of the military profession. While military organizations are…

2020.07.17 | Film, Byron Zachary Rom-Jensen, Region-building, Nation building, Public policy

Film: The Nordic Model: A Complex Concept

The Nordic Model’ is a concept that appears frequently in scholarship, media reports, and public debates to refer to the socio-political organization and progressive values of the Nordic countries. While the concept has been applied since at least the 1980s, it lacks a standard definition and thus is open to variation and alteration. The term has…

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