According to Geert Hofstede's research and cultural dimensions theory, the Scandinavian countries rank as the most feminine countries in the world (Norway is in second place after Sweden). Not feminine in a literal sense, but in certain traits like placing value in quality of life and people over money and things, or in fewer working hours over higher pay. This could be true, as Norwegians are known to appreciate quality time in the outdoors, and it is quite acceptable to leave a bit early on a Friday because one has to go the “hytte” – a cabin, usually in the mountains or by the sea.
Gender equality in Norway
Hofstede’s definition of femininity also includes countries that have smaller gender wage gaps. While what is a small pay gap is debateable, the theory holds also in this case, as the pay gap in Norway is small compared to other countries internationally. Actually, women’s wages in total are below those of men, but adjusted for the same position in the same sector, the salaries are virtually the same for both genders.
Another sign that Norway might be heading in the right direction in terms of equal opportunity, is the amount of women in powerful positions. While men are still overrepresented in management positions in general, there are more female leaders in public administration. The prime minister is a woman, and 9 of her 21 ministers are female, as are about 40% of the parliament. The share of women with higher education has long surpassed the share of men and in 2017, 35.4 percent of women had completed higher education, versus 28.6 percent of men.
Rooted in egalitarianism
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report placed Norway as the second most gender equal society in the world in 2018. A part of the reason why Norway has come so far is probably rooted in our core egalitarian values and ideals. Norway is a prosperous capitalist country driven by financial markets, but the government plays an important role in ensuring the welfare of its citizens, which is seen as fair by most people. You can also notice these values in how Norwegians have a tendency to treat every person more or less the same. It is completely acceptable to call your professors by their first name or to disagree with your boss.
Curious to see how all of this plays out in daily life? As a student in Norway and at BI, you will learn everything from how the Norwegian model works in practice, to the Scandinavian leadership style and not the least, more on our perspective on gender equality.
Stand out. Go North.