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.


A young Bengt Lindqvist. Photo: Synskadades Riksförbund.

2019.12.04 | Biography, Anna Derksen, Governance, Minorities

Bengt Olof Lennart Lindqvist (1936-2016)

Bengt Lindqvist was a Swedish politician and an active member of Swedish and international disability organizations. He became deputy minister for social security in 1985, the first Swedish minister with a visual impairment, and served as the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability from 1994 to 2002. In both the national and the…

Guest workers striking against forced redundancies in front of DA (the Danish Employers' Association), 1978. Photo: Arbejdermuseets Arkiv (The Workers Museum's Archive).

2019.11.07 | Article, Niels Wium Olesen, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Thorsten Borring Olesen, Rosanna Farbøl, Labour markets, Minorities, Multiculturalism, Democracy

Danish immigration policy, 1970-1992

In 1973, the Social Democrat government introduced an immediate stop to labour immigration because of growing unemployment. Immigration was, however, not a particularly problematic subject in the political and public debate in the 1970s. From the beginning of the 1980s, more refugees came to Denmark, particularly from the Middle East and the…

Attitudes of welfare professionals are not only shaped by societal or macro processes but also organisational conditions. Photo: colourbox.dk.

2019.10.31 | Article, Carolin Schütze, Labour markets, Research

It's relational: Racial attitudes in Swedish welfare institutions

Racial bias of staff at welfare institutions can result in negative outcomes for minority clients. Staff are not only professionals, but also individuals with personal beliefs and values. While the overriding organisational culture may be to give equal services to all clients, the attitude of staff and other work pressures might influence their…

Studio-Based Learning is not only for the arts, but is also used to teach students to think imaginatively in business for example. Picture: KADK, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design, and Conservation, Denmark. Source: https://kadk.dk/galleri/

2019.10.17 | Article, Sille Julie J. Abildgaard, Education, Business, Research

Studio-Based Learning in the Nordics

Studio-Based Learning (SBL) is an educational tradition with a student-centered approach. The practice originates in Northern Europe, where Nordic arts and design programs have a long tradition of using studio spaces for teaching. The physical space is considered a powerful factor in facilitating learning and accomplishing instructional goals, and…

From the period 1956-1970, the welfare state model that is known today in Denmark was established and public welfare benefits began to reach many different parts of society rather than just the weakest. Photo: Jason Vosper, colourbox.dk.

2019.10.09 | Video, Peter Yding Brunbech, Governance, Nation building, Culture

Mini-lecture on the Danish welfare state

Even though the welfare state in the Nordics is under pressure and its design is continously debated, it has rarely been more strongly supported in Danish history. Today, nearly all Danish political parties support the basic welfare society model, and they compete over who is best to secure it. Watch this mini-lecture and hear how, from a…

Þingvellir, where Iceland was declared an independent republic on 17th June 1944, is a rich historic site and a popular tourist destination. Photo: Colourbox.

2019.09.04 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Governance

History of Iceland from 1944

After a referendum almost unanimously in favour, Iceland was declared an independent republic on 17th June 1944 at Þingvellir. Denmark did not, however, repeal the law which set out the terms of its personal union with Iceland until 1950. Since then, Iceland has been able to re-claim much of its cultural heritage from Danish institutions.…

Despite previous moves for economic integration in the Nordics, it became especially vigorous once globalisation took hold, particularly from 1990s. Photo: Calvin Hanson, Unsplash.

2019.08.27 | The Quick Read, Susanna Fellman, Economy, Region-building

The Nordic countries and economic integration

As small, open economies, all the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Island, Norway and Sweden) have been well integrated in the regional and international economy. There have been moves to further intra-Nordic integration, such as, the NORDEK project in 1960s and the establishment of Nordic companies. Each of the five countries has had differing…

Map of Iceland from 1500s by Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), a cartographer from the Netherlands, which was first published in his extensive 'atlas', completed and published by his son in the year after Mercator's death. Mercator was the first to use the word 'atlas' for a collection of maps. From: The Royal Library, The Picture Collection (CC-BY-NC-ND).

2019.08.26 | Article, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Region-building, Governance

History of Iceland

Iceland was a largely uninhabited island in the northern Atlantic Ocean, where Norsemen settled around 870. It began as a ‘free state’ at first but became a Norwegian province in the years 1262/64. As a dependency of Norway, Iceland came under the Danish-Norwegian Crown in 1380 and became, in reality, a Danish dependency from 1660. During the…

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…

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