What does it mean to be a feminist MP? A comparative analysis of the Swedish and Danish parliaments.

Drude Dahlerup, David Karlsson, Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta*

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The issue of whether political interests are gendered, and if so, how, has been a recurrent theme in research. While there have been several attempts recently to address gendered political interests theoretically, the central concept of feminism has not been explored in any depth in this context. This article uses unique data pertaining to self-identification as a “feminist” MP, and explores how it relates to gender, party and certain policy issues previously connected to women in Sweden and Denmark. The two neighboring countries both have a high representation of women, but while the Swedish government called itself “feminist,” this was unthinkable in the Danish case. Our main finding is that in both countries male feminist MPs deviate from their female counterparts by not supporting “acting for women” which indicates a separate and gendered understanding of what being a male feminist implies. However, no strong association addressing intrinsic feminist male concerns such as parental leave, was found. Another possibility could be that male feminists refrain from taking agency from females, which the “acting for” option could imply. We conclude that the concept of “acting for women” needs to be abducted from its central stance in feminism as a category of representation to mirror the multifaceted contemporary landscape.
TidsskriftParty Politics
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1198-1210
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2021
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • feminist
  • gender
  • feminism
  • parliament
  • representation
  • Scandinavia
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • MPs

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