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.


Kalle Könkkölä at the public debate forum SuomiAreena in Pori, 2015. Photo: Soppakanuuna, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

2021.08.23 | Biography, Anna Derksen, Public policy, Minorities

Kalle Könkkölä (1950-2018)

Kalle Kustaa Topias Könkkölä was an environmental activist, politician and key figure of the Finnish disability rights movement. Having been physically disabled since birth, Könkkölä attracted nationwide attention when he was elected as one of the first members of the Finnish parliament for the then still young environmental movement in 1983 -…

Front book cover of the book 'Det moderne gennembruds kvinder' (1983) [The Women of the Modern Breakthrough] written by Pil Dahlerup. Photo: Permission to use cover kindly granted by Gyldendal.

2021.07.13 | The Quick Read, Helena Forsås-Scott, Literature, Gender

Literary criticism in the Nordics, postwar to today

Literary work and issues pertaining to it were rooted in the historical-biographical tradition following the Second World War in the Nordics. Danish linguist Louis Hjelmslev's work helped paved the way for structuralism which came to prominence in the 1960s, when the wider debate on the role of literature in education and society also began to…

The University of Copenhagen is one of the main universities in Denmark. Photo: colourbox.

2021.06.25 | Article, Byron J. Nordstrom, Education

An overview of Nordic universities

Universities are important in the Nordic countries because of a generally held belief that education is essential to democracy and it is a responsibility of the state to provide lifelong educational opportunities. Universities are just one piece in a total educational picture that also includes other on-going options for adults of all ages and a…

Eirinn Larsen is Professor at the University of Oslo.

2021.06.02 | Podcast, Eirinn Larsen, Gender, Business, University of Oslo

Norway: Uncovering Gender and Branding in the Nordics with Eirinn Larsen

The Nordic countries are usually seen as much more gender-equal than just about anywhere else in the world. In this podcast, Eirinn Larsen business and gender historian and editor of Gender Equality and Nation Branding in the Nordic Region explains how gender is used as a tool for branding the Nordics. She also talks with Nicola Witcombe,…

2021.05.12 | Article, Charlotte Biil, Public policy, Copenhagen Business School

Is working together key to the Nordic welfare model?

Maintaining high quality welfare organizations is tough even in the Nordic countries with a myriad of unforeseen challenges to contend with, including budget cuts, personnel issues and reorganization. The focus of New Public Governance on how to govern networks between public and private actors is useful. However, the managerial, organizational…

2021.04.29 | Article, Helena Forsås-Scott, Gender, Literature

Feminist writing in the Nordics, 1970s-2000

Feminist writing in 1970s, particularly prose fiction, was inspired by second-wave feminism and by the mid-1980s, feminist writing had become a significant element in Nordic culture. Over the following two decades, issues of gender, frequently explored in terms of language, identity and the body, also gave new prominence to genres such as drama…

A recent demonstration by nurses in Copenhagen with banners saying "We are worth more. Increase wages" (Vi er mere værd. Lønløftet). Photo: Signe Hagel Andersen.

2021.04.21 | Article, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Gender, Public policy, Labour markets, Aarhus University

Unequal pay in Denmark: The impact of an outdated law

Danish nurses still receive 10-20% less in pay than male-dominated professions requiring a similar level of education. There are many contributing factors to unequal pay, but a recent report from the Danish Institute for Human Rights found that one key reason is the effect of the 1969 Public Servant Reform Act which saw nurses and other…

Cathie Jo Martin is Professor in Political Science at the University of Boston.

2021.04.15 | Podcast, Cathie Jo Martin, Education, Labour markets

Denmark: Uncovering Nordic Collectivism with Cathie Jo Martin

Examples of a collective mindset include: Denmark’s introduction of the earliest mass education system in the world in 1814. Nordic social democracy in the 20th century had full employment as a key aim. Different national organisations which represent employers on the one side and workers on the other (the social partners) have managed…

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…

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