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Sweden: Work for Change and Political Threats

  • Charlotte Holgersson
  • Anna Wahl
Chapter

Abstract

The issue of gender equality in working life, and in top decision-making positions in the private sector in particular, has been the subject of much debate in Sweden since the 1990s. Although women currently represent approximately half of the labor force, women are underrepresented on corporate boards. Despite comprehensive legislation concerning gender-discrimination, no legislated gender quotas have been implemented in order to rectify the gender imbalance on corporate boards. The Government has nevertheless “threatened” on a couple of occasions to implement legislated quotas. These threats have sparked resistance, mainly from representatives in the private sector. However, gender equality practices in organizations have increased awareness and knowledge among both employees and managers regarding gendered power relations. This is seen as an important issue that cannot be dismissed with arguments that there are no competent women for board positions. It has also contributed to a mobilization within the private sector in favor of both voluntary and legislated measures to increase the number of women on corporate boards. Moreover, work for change has played an important part in the increase of women’s representation on corporate boards, from 2 percent in 1993 to 23 percent in 2013.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Holgersson
    • 1
  • Anna Wahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Industrial Economics and ManagementKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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