When talking about gender equality, it is not just about cheering for equal rights and justice (although that is very important), it is also about national prosperity and financial gain.
World Economic Forum found that it would take 257 years to reach gender equality at the current pace of social and economic change. How can we do better?
Norway is considered to be one of the most gender equal countries in the world. That does not mean that it is without issues, or areas to improve, but it means we are doing something right. But what?
Women are Working
The economic effect of women’s high participation in the Norwegian workforce is staggering. A report from the Norwegian Department of Social Research showed that 10 percent of the GDP growth between 1973 and 2013 came from growth in employment, largely due to growth in women's employment. The analysis concludes that the GDP would have been 3300 billion NOK lower if we had not had this growth, and that the connection between equality and prosperity is indisputable.
Government Laws and Regulations
The Norwegian model is in many ways the foundation of Norway’s egalitarian society as it has led to relatively small differences. It has taken several measures to create a better gender balance in the workforce, for example:
- Both women and men alike are entitled to 15 weeks of parental leave each. The remaining 16 weeks is divided between them in whichever way that suits the family’s situation. The system gives families flexibility, but also strengthens women’s career possibilities and increases fathers’ time spent with their children.
- Women are still underrepresented in management positions. 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.
Norway is committed to equality in all aspects of life, in Norway and internationally. In addition to strong measures in place to ensure equality in the workplace, Norway is internationally recognised as a defender of human rights. Norway promotes and protects LGBTQI+ and minority rights through legislation, political activism, and support for national and international not-for-profit organisations.
Better leadership, better world
A recent report showed that women’s leadership can unlock major opportunities linked to a sustainable economy. It describes a series of analyses that conclude that having women represented in top management and corporate boards pays off. Companies with a high degree of gender equality performed 11 percent better than companies with a lower level of gender equality, is one example.