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.


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 | Video, 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…

2020.06.29 | Podcast, Niels Wium Olesen, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Thorsten Borring Olesen, Rosanna Farbøl, Public policy, The Borders of the Nordics

Podcast: Danish immigration policy, 1970-1992

Listen to a potted history of the Danish immigration policy, 1970-1992 in either English or Danish! This podcast is part of a series where existing material on nordics.info is read out in assorted languages by colleagues and friends. Great for learning Danish or English. / Lyt til historien om Dansk indvandrings- og udlændingepolitik, 1970-1992 på…

Car manufacturing in a Valmet Automotive body shop in Finland. Photo: Media, Valmet Automotive.

2020.06.11 | Article, Zhen Im, Business, Public policy, Research

Nordic workers vulnerable due to automation: an introduction

Widespread economic transformations, such as increasing automation, tend to negatively affect some groups more than others in the Nordic countries, as elsewhere. Workers who risk losing their jobs to machines or other means are a societal concern; it is, after all, not their fault that society is changing. Importantly, not only are these workers…

Family photo taken in 1944 in Helsingfors Finland. After the Second World War, smaller nuclear families became more widespread as a societal model. Photo: Helsingfors Stadsmuseum. CC-BY-4.0

2020.06.03 | Article, Byron J. Nordstrom, Labour markets, Governance

An overview of population trends in the Nordic countries since the Second World War

The Nordic countries have seen a number of important changes to their populations since the end of World War II. Perhaps most notable among these are growth, increased diversity, and gradual aging. Labour migration has also played a role and detailed people registers mean that research of all kinds can be undertaken with accessible and…

Will the welfare services of Denmark, Finland, Norway & Sweden weather the economic crisis resulting from covid-19? Photo: distinctive Norwegian coin, Børge Sandnes, colourbox.dk.

2020.05.11 | Outlook, Ilkka Kärrylä, Public policy, Economy

Nordic public debt: the dangers of restricting public spending due to the covid-19 crisis

The prevailing economic doctrine in the Nordics and Europe has it that, the lower the public debt, the more room there is for economic stimulation in downturns, such as the current covid-19 crisis. Denmark, Norway and Sweden with their comparatively low levels of public debt were able to announce relatively large economic crisis packages fairly…

Ship and habour workers in Kaskö harbour in the 1920s. Photo: finna.fi, CC BY 4.0.

2020.04.16 | Outlook, Sami M Outinen, Public policy, Economy

The Nordic response to the Great Depression – an economic approach to the Corona crisis?

A look back at how Sweden and Finland dealt with two key crises in the twentieth century may be enlightening during the current Corona crisis. Firstly, the depression in 1930s, which led to Keynesian interventionalism - with some key differences - brought with it a series of steps throughout the following decades in both countries. Secondly, the…

Varying histories and democratic traditions are perhaps some of the reasons why Denmark, Finland and Norway have reacted differently to covid-19 - and why Sweden has had a completely distinctive approach. (Note that this map only shows the Nordic countries referred to in the article.) Photo: colourbox.dk.

2020.04.06 | Outlook, Johan Strang, Public policy, Nation building

Why do the Nordic countries react differently to the covid-19 crisis?

Given the striking similarity of the Nordic societies, it is interesting to note how differently some of them have reacted to the current covid-19 crisis. For example, Denmark and Norway were quick to implement a work and school lockdown and close their borders. In contrast, Sweden has raised international interest with a comparatively lax…

A picture from Seta's (Finnish LGBT rights organisation) magazine in 1976. Source: Seta's archive.

2020.03.30 | The Quick Read, Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir, Elsi Hyttinen, Hafdís Erla Hafsteinsdóttir , Riikka Taavetti, Tuula Juvonen, Íris Ellenberger, Minorities, Gender

Uncovering intra-Nordic queer migration in the 20th century

The view of the Nordic countries today as a place where LGBTIQ individuals and communities can enjoy equality overlooks intra-Nordic variation as well as the complicated histories found in the region. This variation has been a motivation for migration within the Nordics. Much migration, such as from Finland to Sweden and Iceland to Denmark,…

Non-standard employment such as part‐time or temporary work and low‐skilled service jobs have grown over the last couple of decades, and, they have become more uncertain, unpredictable and risky in terms of job and income security in recent decades. Photo:colourbox.dk.

2020.03.19 | Article, Young-Kyu Shin, Petri Böckerman, Research, Public policy, The Nordic Model

Trade union-administered unemployment benefit and precarious workers in Finland

The Nordic countries have some of the highest trade union rates of membership in the world. This has by some been attributed to unemployment insurance being largely administered by trade unions. Since around 1910, unemployment insurance in the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland and Sweden has been based on a voluntary system (‘Ghent’), rather than…

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