Mary King, DMSB’19, and Malin Ortenblad, DMSB’18, recently published research in Harvard Business Review with Jamie Ladge, Patrick F. & Helen C. Walsh Research Professor of Management and Organizational Development. Their research focuses on the idea that lessons from the gender equality in Sweden could help advance gender equality improvement efforts in the United States.

Ortenblad grew up in Sweden and believes that her home country is different than the U.S. in terms of gender equality. Her hypothesis was supported by the World Economic Forum, which has ranked Sweden the fifth-best country in the world addressing the gender equality gap.

Although results from gender equality surveys at the Swedish firms was higher than those in the U.S., the percentage of women working in Sweden wasn’t as high as expected in certain fields, such as investment banking.

“I really had hopes that investment banking, for example, in Sweden would be a lot different,” said Ortenblad, who graduated in August and now works full time at a consulting firm. “But it turns out that the country has less of an impact in certain fields of finance.”

The two conducted online surveys with 60 finance professionals from the two countries. They were able to follow up with half of them in person using funds provided by the Summer Scholars Independent Research Fellowship Program at Northeastern.

King and Ortenblad did cite some promising findings from the study including the input and actions of financial firm clients and recent college graduates, especially men, who are emerging advocates for a more gender balanced industry.

“It means that people who aren’t in finance can have an impact on this,” said King.

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