Nordic gender regime(s)

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Nordic gender regime(s)
Lilja Mósesdóttir
University of Iceland
1
Gender regimes
 Regulation of gender relation
(regulatory mechanisms/input)
:
Political institutions and processes (power relations)
Social/cultural institutions and processes (values/beliefs)
Economic institutions and processes (market forces)
 Meaning of gender equality
(principle/goal)
Captures the desirable structure of gender relations
 Gender equality
(structure/outcome)
:
Patterns of gender relations
2
Gender equality in the Nordic countries
 Nordic countries - similar in terms of:
How gender equality has been promoted/achieved (input)
Nordic countries pursued gender equality through parental leave and
childcare policies encouraging women to take up paid employment
Level of gender equality (output)
 Similarities conceal path-dependency or the influences of
national specific:
Political and social relations
Institutional arrangements
Mutual learning processes taking place across the Nordic
countries
3
Source: World Economic Forum 2007
4
Gender Gap Index 2007
Denmark
Finland
Iceland
Norway
Sweden
Overall score
0.752
0.804
0.784
0.806
0.815
Participation & oppor
(0.577)
0.734
0.723
0.721
0.751
0.761
Educational attainm
(0.916)
1
0.999
0.987
1
0.999
Health and survival
(0.958)
0.970
0.980
0.970
0.979
0.974
Political empowerm
(0.142)
0.305
0.517
0.456
0.494
0.525
5
The meaning of gender equality
 No common meaning within and across the Nordic countries
(Magnusson 1999, Mósesdóttir 2001)
Accumulated understanding of what constitute gender equality
(historical)
Changes in gender relations alters our understanding (nonstatic)
Actors struggle for a certain meaning of gender equality (power
struggle)
Institutions interpret and apply gender equality in accordance
with the dominant reference framework (regulation)
6
Political institutions & processes
 Different coalition building influenced the development of the Nordic
welfare states (Kangas and Palme 2005:27; Ellingæter, Emerek, Haataja, Mósesdóttir,
Nyberg (forthcoming)
 Denmark and Iceland - a strong liberal tradition
 More restricted rights to paid leave (Denmark) and low flat rate welfare benefits(Iceland)
 Sweden, and (Norway) - social democracy since the 1930s
 extensive and generous leave rights
 Finland (until 1960) and Norway- agrarian/religious conservatism
 child home care allowance
 Different coalition building influenced women’s political participation
in the Nordic welfare states
 Share of women in parliament 2007
(World Economic Forum 2007)
Denmark: 37%, Iceland: 33%
Sweden: 47%, Norway: 38%, Finland: 42%
7
Social/cultural institutions and
processes
 Gender equality
(Plantenga, Remery & Rubery 2007; Mósesdóttir 2001, Pincus 1998):
 Measures to enable women to become economically independent from
men in their roles as mothers and workers
parental leave schemes and child care provisions
 Measures to change traditional division of work
Increase women’s educational attainments and the professional status of
female dominated occupations
Tackle attitudes hindering women and men to lesser extent to enter nontraditional occupations.
Encourage and then force men to spend time with their young children
(paternity leave, Daddy’s quotas)
 Gender mainstreaming – policy strategy to achieve gender equality
General policy principle (Sweden and Iceland)
Organisational infrastructure (Denmark) and training in GM
(Sweden & Denmark)
8
Economic institutions and
processes
 Market (and policy) processes create both de-gendering and regendering processes that have resulted in fragmentary progress towards
gender equality (Walby 2007).
 De-gendering: Participation in paid work has become more equal among
men and women and distribution across sectors & occupations
 Re-gendering: Gender segregation and the gender pay gap fail to show
significant improvement and have in some cases widened.
 Growing regulation of market forces
 Force employers to honour the equality law (legal obligations and fines)
Dissemination of pay information
Pay analysis and action plans to reduce the gender pay gap
Fines for failing to provide information and undertake active measure
 Enable women to enter company boards and management position
Gender balance (40%/60%)on boards of private and public companies
9
Reached the “glass ceiling”
 The Nordic approach to gender equality has been successful in
boosting female employment but a costly solution that has reached its
limits (Datta Gupta, Smith & Verner 2008)
 The regulation of gender relations becoming increasingly marketinterventionist (re-regulation instead of de-regulation)
 Three-track strategy to gender equality:
 Gender mainstreaming
 Special measures to improve the position of women/MEN
 Legal obligations and fines
 Women are striking against undervaluation of female-dominated jobs
 Women’s higher level of education and economic independence from men
enhancing women’s empowerment
10
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