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Bild på Åsa Lundqvist av Emma Lord.

Åsa Lundqvist


Bild på Åsa Lundqvist av Emma Lord.

Activating Women in the Swedish Model


  • Åsa Lundqvist

Summary, in English

The 1960s marked the beginning of a new era of family and gender relations in Sweden. It was a time when traditional values and ideas concerning the family were questioned and redefined in policymaking. The Women's movement and political radicalization underpinned the emergence of gender equality policy ambitions, culminating in several gender neutral reforms in the 1970s. These policy ambitions coincided with the introduction of active labour market policies. In fact, the introduction of activation policies contributed already in the 1960s to incentivizing various groups to enter the labour force, among others married women without gainful employment. In this article, the National Labour Market Board is investigated as an active agent in a time when women's participation in the labour market increased dramatically. Attention is drawn to how activation policies were established, designed, and performed in order to enable women to do paid work. Three examples of how activation was accomplished will be presented: first, vocational training for women, second, a radio programme from 1966 called “The Housewife Changing her Profession”, and, third, the work done by a group of civil servants labelled activating inspectors. The empirical data are grounded in a comprehensive body of qualitative material amassed from in-depth interviews with former civil servants working within the National Labour Market Board and archive material. The results suggest that activation programmes in the 1960s functioned as a link between the ambition to increase female labour market participation to secure economic growth and to support women's economic independence.


  • Sociology

Publishing year







Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society





Document type

Journal article


Oxford University Press


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)




  • ISSN: 1072-4745