Historisk tidskrift 127:2 • 2007
Innehåll (Contents) 2007:2
Apotek som arbetsmarknad. Institutionell förändring och feminisering
av apotek i Sverige
Maria Stanfors och Klas Öberg
Institutional and occupational change in Swedish Pharmacy:
a story of feminization
In this paper, we describe and explain the feminization of
pharmacies and the pharmacist profession in twentieth-century
Sweden. We investigate economic, institutional as well as cultural
determinants of the feminization process and find that there
are mainly two sets of factors that have caused major changes
in the gender composition of the Swedish pharmacist profession:
one economic and one institutional. The economic reason for
feminization is the change in the incentive structure for women
and men for becoming pharmacists. Because the pay level has
fallen relative to comparable professions, the gender wage
gap has narrowed and working conditions have changed fundamentally.
The institutional explanation for feminization points to
the changes in the work organization that affected gender relations.
Furthermore, the gender of certain work tasks changed. Finally,
formal institutional bars were removed that enabled women both
to get a pharmaceutical education and to work in a pharmacy.
The formal bars were removed in the late 1920s and since then,
in concert with a gradually changing work organization, the
construction of gender in the workplace changed.
Swedish pharmacies were feminized both quantitatively and
qualitatively, first at the lower positions, then at the higher.
Since the 1970s, even the top managerial positions underwent
feminization, which makes the case of pharmacies somewhat different
from a number of other professions and occupations where feminization
mainly has taken place at the lower levels of the occupational
Our historically oriented study refute the commonly widespread
opinion that feminization leads to a degrading of an occupation
or a skill. The case of feminization of Swedish pharmacies
shows the importance of historical knowledge in order to
better understand the gender division of labor and segregation
in the labor market of today.
pharmacy, institutional change, feminization, gender, organization