Gender equality and the Norwegian model
The Norwegian model is comprised of a collaboration between three interdependent parties. Workers and employers have a responsibility to protect their own interests, but also need to work together to come up with the best solutions. The role of the third party, the Norwegian government, is to intermediate when there is a problem, and to protect the interests of Norway.
The Norwegian model is in many ways the foundation of Norway’s egalitarian society as it has led to relatively small differences. It encompasses both economic and social policies, some of which have been carried out throughout the last decades to achieve greater gender equality.
Promoting a better balance
The Norwegian government has taken several measures to create a better gender balance in the workforce. Parental leave comes with a fixed father’s quota to create a more even division of childcare between the parents, and daycare expanded to include one and two year olds has shortened the time women are absent from work.
When it comes to the share of women in management positions, women are still underrepresented. However, since 2003 a law has ensured that all public limited companies’ boards should consist of 40% women, and by 2018, 31% of all board chairmen in Norway were actually chairwomen. This is a pretty big step in a global perspective considering that in 2016, 0% of German companies in Germany had more than 30% women on the board. The same year in China, women were only represented on 9.2% of boards in total.
Some people might be opposed to the idea of governments taking measures to create a more equal work life and society. However, the Prime Minister of Norway has made it clear that gender equality is the way forward, and that there is no excuse for not achieving it by 2030.
“Failure to promote women’s participation in paid work is wasting half of humanity’s skills and capacity. No country can justify or afford that,” she said in a speech in 2018.