Jun 09, 2021

U.S. & DK Perspectives on Elevating Women into Leadership

On June 9, AmCham Denmark, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, held an event to discuss American & Danish perspectives on elevating women into leadership with prominent leaders from both countries.

Keynote speakers included Powerhouses Alyse Nelson, President & CEO of Vital Voices, and Sarah Endline, Entrepreneur in Residence, Harvard Business School and the Harvard Innovation Labs, alongside Nordic leadership profiles Christine Asmussen, Executive Director for Finansforbundet and Peder Anderlind, Senior Vice President at Danske Bank. The U.S. Embassy Chargé D’Affaires Stuart Dwyer opened the program.

There is a common understanding in both nations that elevating women into leadership positions is important for business globally. But why is the process moving so slowly?

During the panel discussion, moderator Marie Valentin Beck (Diversity & Inclusion Expert, BureauM)  shared numbers that reflected the obstacles in both countries. In Denmark, more women than men complete a university degree, however according to a World Economic Forum survey from 2021, Denmark ranked only 101 with regards to women in top management, while the U.S. ranked 31. On the other hand, the U.S. ranked number 61, as opposed to Denmark’s number 25, on the issue of labor participation rates. This indicates that the Danish labor market is structurally inclusive, however this is not reflected in the leadership level.

One of the major topics for discussion was the ‘nordic paradox’ which refers to the fact that while the nordic countries are front runners when it comes to providing women with equal opportunities including affordable childcare, free education and so forth, top management is vastly male dominated.

Clearly, new initiatives are needed,  including redefining the definition of leadership, placing more emphasis on outcomes through collaboration versus commercial track record, along with placing more value in empathetic and inclusive leadership models.

Check out the event video to find out more about the discussion.