That is the new and quite interesting book by Nima Sanandaji. The main point is that there are plenty of Nordic women in politics, or on company boards, but few CEOs or senior managers. In fact the OECD country with the highest share of women as senior managers is the United States, coming in at 43 percent compared to 31 percent in the Nordics. More generally, countries with more equal gender norms do not have a higher share of women in senior management positions. Within Europe, Bulgaria does best and other than Cyprus, Denmark and Sweden do the worst in this regard.
One reason for the poor Nordic performance at higher corporate levels is high taxes, which limits the amount of household services supplied through markets. If it is harder to hire someone to do the chores, that makes it harder for women to invest the time to climb the career ladder. Generous maternity leave policies may encourage women to take off “too much” time, or at least this is suggested by the author. A history of communism is also strongly correlated with women rising to the top in business and management; this may stem from a mix of relatively egalitarian customs and a more general mixing up of status relations in recent times and a turnover of elites.
I don’t find this book to be the final word, and I would have liked a more formal econometric treatment. It is nonetheless a consistently interesting take which revises a lot of the stereotypes many people have about the Nordic countries as being so absolutely wonderful for gender egalitarianism in every regard.
Here is the book’s website, from Timbro (a very good group), I don’t yet see it on Amazon.