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Two Steps Forward and One Step Back in the View of Female Entrepreneurship

Which measures lead to gender equality in entrepreneurship? This is the topic of a report from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. According to the report, the Nordic countries have a lot to learn from each other.

Photo: Colourbox
 Photo: Colourbox

The Nordic countries share many traits. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Åland have similar value systems and social solutions. The same can be said about their views of business, entrepreneurship and gender equality.

Katarina Pettersson, researcher at the unit for rural development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, has conducted a gender analysis of policies for female entrepreneurship in the Nordic region.

‘I’ve explored the policies implemented to support women’s entrepreneurship in the six Nordic countries and have simply looked closer at how the different policies are formulated,’ she says.

The report, titled En genusanalys av policy för kvinnors företagande i Norden, discusses the results and lessons learned from initiatives to promote female entrepreneurship. It offers both broad and deep knowledge about which measures can be expected to lead to equal conditions for entrepreneurship.

‘When women are placed in a subordinate position and it is assumed that they need help, that they don’t understand entrepreneurship and business, the focus is set on individual female entrepreneurs and not on the structural problems in business-promoting systems and the labour market at large.’

Some Nordic countries have taken steps towards a more structural perspective in recent years, while others have taken a step backwards.

‘It’ll be interesting to follow this development. Not least since both Norway and Sweden have relatively new governments in place,’ says Pettersson.

Updated 3 May 2020