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Support for women's entrepreneurship: a Nordic spectrum

A new article by Nordregio's Katarina Pettersson has been published in the International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship. The purpose of the paper is to analyse national state support programmes for women's entrepreneurship, in the Nordic countries, from a gender perspective.

The article concludes that all Nordic countries, with the exception of Iceland, have a programme or an action plan to support women's entrepreneurship, but vary in their underlying paradigms and rationales. Norway is placed at one end of the spectrum because its policy programme is most clearly influenced by a feminist empowerment paradigm intended to transform and/or tailor the existing support system through various measures. At the other end of the spectrum is Denmark, which most clearly focuses on economic growth in line with a neo-liberal paradigm. Between these extremes, are Sweden, Finland and Iceland. The analysis reveals that state support programmes, in the name of supporting women entrepreneurs, tend to put women in a subordinate position to men and thereby risk sustaining a male norm.

The paper contributes a much-needed systematic comparative analysis of support for women's entrepreneurship in the Nordic countries. This analysis is important in order to further the discussion of how policy actors can refrain from putting women in a secondary position to men, and thus avoid sustaining a male norm in entrepreneurship support.

Katarina Pettersson, (2012) Support for women's entrepreneurship: a Nordic spectrum, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 4 Iss: 1, pp.4 - 19