Private Sector Career Trajectories for Women in Denmark and the USA: Welfare State Services versus Corporate Diversity Programmes

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    According to welfare state theories, women pursuing high-level careers benefit from access to maternity-leave programmes and child care. Yet this is not the complete picture. While theories exploring public policy highlight the contribution of welfare services to the relative productivity of women compared to men, these theories should be complemented with a focus on conditions internal to the firm and in particular the organization of human resources. I focus on IT and pharmaceutical firms in the USA and Denmark, and show that US companies manage compliance by setting clear goals for gender diversity while this is not the case in Denmark. Furthermore, US subsidiaries in Denmark view the US paradigm of equality of outcome as more attractive than the Danish paradigm of equality of opportunity. The Danish welfare state is increasingly seen by human resource managers as inadequate when it comes to promoting female managers in the private sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of Industrial Relations
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)261-275
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Gender Equality
    • Human Resource Management
    • Organizational Processes
    • Top-level Management
    • Welfare State

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