Gender and Volunteering in Scandinavia

  • Thomas P. BojeEmail author
  • Jonathan Hermansen
  • Rasmus Juul Møberg
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


In this chapter, we try to outline some of the dynamics determining the pattern of volunteering among women and men in Scandinavia. These countries have a high level of gender equality in terms of social and economic conditions. There are high levels of labour market participation for both women and men. Having said this, the Scandinavian countries seem in contrast to most other European countries able to combine high levels of gender equality in the labour market with involvement in voluntary work. Men still have a slightly higher probability of doing voluntary work than women, but these gender differences have declined, primarily during the last decade. Furthermore, the male domination in volunteering is concentrated in one sector – sport activities. If we exclude this sector, we find not only gender equality but even more women than men currently doing voluntary work in all three Scandinavian countries. The growing gender equality in volunteering has many causes but two trends appear highly important: first, the general development in societies with growing gender equality in public appearance and in allocation of resources, second, a reconfiguration of the non-profit sector from sport, recreation and politics towards welfare services and local community activities. Both trends have increased volunteering among women, thus diminishing male domination.


Gender Volunteering Welfare system Paid and unpaid work 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas P. Boje
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jonathan Hermansen
    • 2
  • Rasmus Juul Møberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social Science and Business (ISE)Roskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Research and DevelopmentUniversity College CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and Social WorkAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

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