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Vocational education and training in the Nordic countries – Knowledge and interventions to combat gender segregation

In the Nordic countries, both education and the labour market are strongly gendersegregated. This segregation is both vertical and horizontal, meaning that women are found in different courses and study programmes and sectors of the labour market than men, and also find themselves in different positions in the hierarchies of education systems and working life. This gender segregation has consequences for study and working conditions, pay, and the distribution of power and resources.

Combating gender bias is one of the strategic areas of intervention in official Nordic cooperation in the area of gender equality. The Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2020 therefore initiated a project that shed light on gendered educational choices in the Nordic countries. The Nordic Council of Ministers cooperation body Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK), located at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, was commissioned to conduct a study focusing on gender segregation in VET in the Nordic countries.

The study provides an introduction to what we know about VET and gender as an area of knowledge, describes how VET in the Nordic countries is organised, and gives examples of how these countries have worked to break patterns of gender segregation and to retain pupils who belong to the under-represented sex. The study also includes a concluding analysis section which discusses the results of the survey conducted against the background of current knowledge in the field.

Updated 16 February 2024