The Puzzle of Gender-Equal Political Participation in Sweden: The Importance of Norms and Mobilization
2009 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 32, no 3, 315-336 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Political participation is higher among men than women in most parts of the world. However, earlier research has shown that this does not hold true in Scandinavia, including Sweden, where gender differences are remarkably small. This article studies the causes of the Swedish situation. A conventional hypothesis is formulated based on research from other parts of the world. It assumes that gender-equal participation in Sweden can be explained by the lack of gender differences in certain political resource and motivational factors that are often analyzed. However, this hypothesis is not supported by the data, which instead indicates a female disadvantage with regard to both resources and motivation. Two alternative hypotheses are developed and shown as empirically viable. The first assumes that women more often adhere to norms that emphasize the importance of being politically active, which promotes their participation in politics. The second focuses on collective mobilization based on interests specific to women. In line with this hypothesis, only women are shown to be members of women's organizations and hold more radical opinions on issues related to gender equality and reproduction. These factors have a positive impact on women's participation, and together they explain a noticeable amount of the male advantage with regard to conventional explanatory factors. Therefore they are important contributory causes of gender-equal participation in Sweden, although other factors, not discussed here, also contribute. Quantitative methods are used in the analyses, and the study material is the 1997 Swedish Citizenship Survey.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 32, no 3, 315-336 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-108700DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9477.2008.00233.xISI: 000268061400005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-108700DiVA: diva2:240345