Gender Equality in The Nordic Region: A Comparative Problematization Analysis of Gender Equality Politics in Denmark and Sweden

Thomas Lockhart

Student thesis: Master thesis


Drawing upon Michel Foucault's concept of problématisation, this thesis sets out to examine how gender and gender equality are communicated by governmental institutions. More specifically, this thesis will utilize the general form of problematization to identify a particular pattern in which different problems and solutions regarding gender and gender equality are constructed within the communication of official institutions in Sweden and Denmark.
Michel Foucault and his notion of power, discourse, subjectivity and problematization will be used as an overall framework for analyzing how gender and gender equality is given meaning through the communication of official institutions. In addition, American queer theorist Judith Butler will be introduced to provide a further understanding of the word gender. Her work on gender as being performative will lay the foundation for how gender is understood primarily within governmental institutions in Sweden.
The analyses show that in the Swedish literature the pattern of problems and solutions associated with gender and gender equality politics arise as societal issues where power structures between men and women prevent the achievement of equality between the two genders. This pattern therefore incites solutions which are strongly based on political initiatives such as gender mainstreaming as well as a mobilization of the powerless individual. In contrast, the Danish authorities construe the general form of problematization as the need for equal opportunities in a genderless society where the individual or individual organization bears the overall responsibility for gender equality. Furthermore, it is argued that gender equality is not the scope of Danish gender equality literature but rather that diversity equality has replaced the traditional understanding of gender issues. Therefore, solutions are presented as diversity strategies at the expense of gender strategies. In Swedish and Danish literature, respectively, the goal which both constructions of gender equality try to achieve is complete and universal equality between the two sexes and individuals in respectively Swedish and Danish literature. Based on the above problematizations, the thesis concludes that the power configuration in Swedish gender and gender equality communication is more likely to stress legal and disciplinary power whereas security measurements and discipline is highlighted in Danish contexts.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages88
SupervisorsKaspar Villadsen