Diversity in diversity policy: the case of the Scandinavian countries

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The Scandinavian countries, i.e. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are often described as European leaders within equal opportunity and diversity. However, in spite of the fact that the Scandinavian countries have implemented policies and initiated programmes to ensure gender diversity in all sectors and levels of society since the mid-1970s and beginning of the 1980s, progress is generally slow. Nonetheless, the three countries differ regarding public and political attention on the issue and hence on policies, intensity of implementation and management of gender equality policies. In this article, we focus on the representation of Scandinavian women in leadership positions in larger companies and academia, and discuss the scope and intensity of gender equality policies and their effects. Finally, we highlight key lessons learned from decades of gender equality work in the three countries.

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