Gender equality is often seen as a hallmark of the Nordic countries. This book explores this notion by examining the meanings of gender that underpin policies in the Scandinavian welfare states, historically and today.
The book focuses on three Scandinavian countries - Denmark, Norway and Sweden - and explores the policy reforms that have occurred relating to family and care. Beginning with the radical marriage reform carried through in all the three countries in the early decades of the 20th century, the book progresses to explore contemporary challenges to the traditional model of equality, including equal rights for fathers, multiculturalism and a critical young generation. The book focuses on differences as well as similarities between the countries and discusses the relevance of talking about a Nordic model.
Stressing the importance of viewing the concept of equality in its historical context, the book critically investigates and discusses the Scandinavian 'success story' portrayed in normative political theory and presents an historical analysis of the development of gendered citizenship rights.
It will be a valuable collection for researchers, lecturers and graduate students who work with historical and contemporary studies on welfare state and gender models from different disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.
Kari Melby is Professor of History, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture/Centre for Feminist and Gender Studies, and Vice-Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.
Anna-Birte Ravn is Associate Professor in Gender Division of Work and Social Change at FREIA, Centre for Feminist Research, Aalborg University, Denmark.
Christina Carlsson Wetterberg is Professor of History at Örebro University, Sweden.
Contents: Introduction: A Nordic model of gender equality? ~ Kari Melby, Christina Wetterberg and Anna-Birte Ravn; Part one: Meanings of gender equality in Scandinavian welfare policy: Woman-friendly policy paradoxes? Childcare policies and gender equality visions in Scandinavia ~ Anette Borchorst; The claim of economic citizenship: the concept of equality in a historical context ~ Christina Carlsson Wetterberg and Kari Melby; Married women's right to pay taxes: debates on gender, economic citizenship, and tax law reform in Denmark, 1945-83 ~ Anna-Birte Ravn; Family policy between science and politics ~ Åsa Lundqvist; Academic discourse, social policy and the construction of new families ~ Christine Roman; Part two: Current challenges: competing discourses on gender equality: The 'new father': gender equality as discursive resource for family policies ~ Trine Annfelt; From powerful to powerless fathers: gender equality in family policies on parenthood ~ Charlotte Andersen and Anna-Birte Ravn; Dilemmas of citizenship: tensions between gender equality and respect for diversity in the Danish welfare state ~ Birte Siim; Women friendly?: Understanding gendered racism in Sweden ~ Diana Mulinari; Young women's attitudes towards feminism and gender equality ~ Ann-Dorte Christensen; A Scandinavian feminist public sphere: discourses on feminism and gender equality ~ Christina Fiig; Postscript: Gender, citizenship and social justice in the Nordic welfare states: a view from the outside ~ Ruth Lister; Postscript: Future research on gender equality in the Scandinavian countries ~ Keith Pringle
"Overall, this collection provides a welcome addition to existing literature within the genre. Its depth of analysis is obvious, whilst still maintaining a style that is easy to read, even for the novice within this area. ......an interesting and informative book, which adds to the debate on gender equality in modern society." Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Vol 30:3, 2008
"This is essential reading for anyone concerned about achieving gender equality and the obstacles to it. This book is the best analysis yet of how, historically, the present strengths, weaknesses, differences and similarities emerged in Scandinavian countries, and of the continuous change over time, up to the contemporary challenges to further progress." Pat Thane, Professor of Contemporary British History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
"In this timely collection, leading feminist scholars take a fresh look at Scandinavia's 'woman-friendly' welfare state regimes. This is essential reading for all scholars of gender and welfare politics." Professor Sonya Michel, University of Maryland, USA and founding Co-Editor, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society