Ladies First : Why the Corporate Gender Quotas Policy Proposal Failed in Sweden
Sammanfattning: This essay examines a long-lived issue in Sweden: the case of corporate gender quotas. Its focus is to understand why the policy failed to be adopted as legislation. Previous research has tended to focus on successful cases, while failed cases have been neglected. By paying attention to a failed case, it is possible to provide a more complete understanding of policy change. To examine this, the essay focuses on three aspects: the existence of strategic partnerships, the strength of the supporting movement, and the strength of the countermovement. The empirical material consists of interviews conducted with key actors, proponents and opponents, complemented with different documents. The results demonstrate that proponents failed to make use of an existing strategic partnership and were weak as they failed to state their arguments in universal terms: that this concerns many and have broad consequences. Ultimately, it was not seen as a public problem – and therefore opponents could argue that legislation was needless. Moreover, opponents were strong as they managed to push the issue off the agenda by demonstrating that the gender distribution on boards had improved. Thereby, they claimed that the issue no longer is an issue, and argued that government action was unnecessary.
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