The Historical Gender Gap Index: A Longitudinal and Spatial Assessment of Sweden, 1870-1990

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Our knowledge of the long-run evolution of gender equality is limited. We currently lack
quantitative indicators capable of capturing the variations on and changes in the individual
dimensions of gender equality. This paper seeks to assess the long-run evolution of gender roles
and relations in Sweden. To this end, we build a database with quantitative indicators of gender
equality. These indicators allow us to construct a Historical Gender Gap Index (HGGI), which
is used to describe and analyze the evolution of gender equality in Sweden during a phase
characterized by industrialization, urbanization and demographic transition. We find that after
a period of stagnation, Sweden from the 1940s onwards made significant progress in closing
the gender gap to reach the high level of gender equality that it is now famous for. All counties
have made substantial improvements in closing the gap over time, although some counties have
been quicker than others. Our investigation reveals the existence of a convergence pattern
between counties.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameLund Papers in Economic History
PublisherDepartment of Economic History, Lund University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History

Free keywords

  • gender equality
  • index
  • development process
  • Sweden
  • J16
  • N33
  • O11


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