1st Edition

Gender Equality and Nation Branding in the Nordic Region

Edited By Eirinn Larsen, Sigrun Marie Moss, Inger Skjelsbæk Copyright 2021
    232 Pages 1 Color & 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 1 Color & 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores how gender equality, a central part of the Nordic imaginary, is used in the political communication of Nordic states. The analyses presented move beyond conventional images and discourses of Nordic gender- and women-friendliness by critically investigating how and to what extent gender equality serves nation-branding in the Nordic region.

    Nation-branding is an unescapable part of globalisation, which is a market-oriented process dominated by the West and predicated on the creation of winners and losers. Hence, efforts to strengthen the national brand or reputation of specific Nordic countries with the aid of gender equality as a political and symbolic value inevitably help to reinforce already established global hierarchies where the Nordics play the role of moral superpower. This book comprises scholars from various fields of specialisation, and provides evidence and understanding for the growing interaction between gender-equality policies and nation-branding in all five Nordic countries. It does so by exploring a variety of policy fields and issues including women’s rights, foreign policy, rape and legislation, female quotas and business policies, in addition to the index industry. The rise of the global indexes has reproduced forceful images of the Nordic countries as frontrunners of gender equality, which indeed help the Nordic countries to further position themselves as ‘best at being good’.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Nordic gender equality in political science, sociology, law, criminology, political psychology and history, as well as those interested in nation branding, Nordic studies and exceptionalism.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003017134, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    Cynthia Enloe


    Eirinn Larsen, Sigrun Marie Moss and Inger Skjelsbæk

    1. ‘The Gender-progressive Nordics’: A Matter of History

    Eirinn Larsen

    2. Variations on Shared Themes: Branding the Nordics as Gender-equal

    Katarzyna Jezierska and Ann Towns

    3. Applying the Brand or Not? Challenges of Nordicity and Gender Equality in Scandinavian Diplomacy

    Sigrun Marie Moss

    4. Keeping Sweden on Top: Rape and Legal Innovation as Nation-branding

    May-Len Skilbrei

    5. Trouble in Paradise? Icelandic Gender-equality Imaginaries, National Rebranding and International Reification

    Irma Erlingsdóttir

    6. Protecting the Brand? The Hesitant Incorporation of Gender Equality in the Peace Nation

    Inger Skjelsbæk and Torunn L. Tryggestad

    7. A Useful Tool? Images of the Nordics in Swiss Quota Debates

    Stéphanie Ginalski

    8. Silenced at the Border: Norwegian Gender-equality Policies in National Branding

    Cathrine Holst and Mari Teigen

    9. Not So Exceptional After All? Nordic Gender Equality and Controversies Linked to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

    Anne Hellum

    10. Creating Gender Exceptionalism: The Role of Global Indexes

    Tori Loven Kirkebø, Malcolm Langford and Haldor Byrkjeflot

    Afterword: Gendering the Brand?

    Halvard Leira


    Eirinn Larsen is Professor of History in the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo, Norway.

    Sigrun Marie Moss is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo, Norway.

    Inger Skjelsbæk is Professor at the Center for Gender Research and the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo, Norway.