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Research article2015Peer reviewed

Women entrepreneurship - a shortcut to a more competitive and equal forestry sector?

Appelstrand, Marie; Lidestav, Gun


This article discusses the potential for soft-governance instruments and processes such as the National Gender Equality Strategy to implement a strategy aiming at improved competiveness through gender equality. A central question addressed is how to create a women entrepreneurial identity within the framework of the dominant gender order in the forest sector? The literature review and policy analysis upon which this article is based shows that both structural and individual factors in combination are important for women to be motivated to develop a business in the green sectors. While fully agree with the above, this article takes the discussion one step further by pointing out how policy programs designed to support rural business often have been carried out in a top-down fashion without sufficient knowledge about specific target groups, and have primarily focused on men's businesses within the primary business areas. In order not to be "genderblind," specific support built from the grassroots level with sufficient knowledge about the target group, i.e. women forest owners, is crucial. Several studies also show that in order for programs or strategies with vague effect goals to work, they have to be legitimate and accepted by the stakeholders, which has shown to be one of the most fundamental weaknesses of this type of soft-governance approach. The essential factor is not the goal itself, but rather which tools are available for implementation. Otherwise, this type of soft policy instruments will only work on those who already believe - that is to say, it is seducing the already seduced.


women entrepreneurs; gender equality; entrepreneurial identity; forest policy; governance

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2015, Volume: 30, number: 3, pages: 226-234

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG5 Gender equality

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Gender Studies

      Publication identifier


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