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.


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…

Were correspondence courses in Tanzania in 1960s and 1970s essentially 'Swedish' or 'African' or a mixture of both? Photo: colourbox.dk.

2020.03.02 | Article, Nikolas Glover, The Nordics in the World, Education, Research

Nordic adult educators encounter Tanzanian development in the 1960s and 1970s

In 1962 Sweden was said to be the country with the most extensive correspondence education enrolment per capita in the world. This was explained with reference to its sparse and widespread population with a high level of literacy, an efficient publishing industry and reliable postal services. None of these conditions existed in Tanganyika (renamed…

The cover of the official handbook to Sweden's feminist foreign policy, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2019.

2020.01.28 | Article, Sigrun Marie Moss, The Nordics in the World, Gender

An introduction to Swedish feminist foreign policy

Swedish foreign policy has long been engaged in issues relating to gender. This was cemented in 2014 by the launch of its Feminist Foreign Policy which has been heralded as ground-breaking and the most comprehensive of its kind. It allows for a systematic mainstreaming of gender throughout the whole Foreign Ministry and in all aspects of foreign…

2019.12.18 | Film, Elisabeth Tveito Johnsen, Belief systems, Education

Interview: The border between religion and culture at Christmas time in Scandinavia

Schools and TV programmes are important in shaping children and communities. In the Nordic countries, schools and broadcasters are frequently tasked with presenting cultural heritage to the public – particularly at Christmas time. Is cultural heritage exclusively Lutheran in Denmark and Norway? How do headteachers and broadcasters decide what is…

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

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…

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

2019.07.17 | Article, Byron J. Nordstrom, Labour markets, Economy

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…

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