The (in)visibility of gender in Scandinavian climate policy-making.
This article explores the link between gender representation and climate policy-making in Scandinavia. We ask to what extent equal descriptive representation (critical mass) results in substantive representation (critical acts). Our study shows that women and men are equally represented in administrative and political units involved in climate policy-making, and in some units women are in the majority. However, a text analysis of the outcomes, that is, the Scandinavian climate strategies, reveals a silence regarding gender, further confirmed through interviews. Accordingly, a critical mass of women does not automatically result in gender-sensitive climate policy-making, recognizing established gender differences in material conditions and in attitudes toward climate issues. In interviews, we also note that policy-makers are largely unaware of gender differences on climate issues in the Scandinavian context. We discuss why a critical mass of women in climate policy-making has not led to critical acts and offer alternative explanations informed by feminist IR theory. For example, poststructural feminism claims that masculine norms are deeply institutionalized in climate institutions; hence, policy-makers adapt their actions to the masculinized institutional environment. Thus, substantive representation should be understood in relation to gendered institutional processes.