Gender Equality in Norway
Flag of Norway
|Population (in Mil.)||4.95|
|Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB)||485.80|
|Sex Ratio (m/f)||0.98|
|Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m)||1.061|
|Income Ratio (f/m)||0.77|
|Literacy Ratio (f/m)||1|
|Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m)||1.54|
|Women in Parliament (in %)||37.9|
|Human Development Index||1/169|
|Social Institutions and Gender Index||- /86|
|Gender Inequality Index||5/138|
|Gender Equity Index||4/157|
|Women’s Economic Opportunity Index||3/113|
|Global Gender Gap Index||2/134|
|More information on variables|
Norway was ranked first by the World Economic Forum in 2008 in its gender gap index and ranks highly in other measures of economic and political gender equality. Norway has been described as a “haven for Gender equality” by CEDAW; however, inequalities remain, including Violence against women, prostitution and the rights of immigrant and indigenous (sami) women.
Legislation of 1918 and 1927 placed women on an equal footing with men in matters of divorce, custody of children and the right to property. The Equal Status Act of 1978 prohibited all discrimination on the basis of gender. Norway has ratified all international agreements on human rights and equal rights of women and men. CEDAW is incorporated into the Norwegian Gender Equality Act. When the Labour Party, the Socialist Left party and the Centre Party (the Stoltenberg II Government) took over power in autumn 2005, they pledged to incorporate CEDAW into the Human Rights Act, although this has still yet to be done.
The equal status of women in society has been an important part of public policy in Norway for several years. A central initiative in this context was the Parliament's passing of a law in 2003, requiring that 40 percent of all company board members be women. When first suggested, the law proposal encountered restive opposition. The critics claimed that it would weaken board competence and competitive ability internationally. As the passing of the law proceeded, the focus of debate shifted towards the subject of women as an untapped resource. Nearly eight years on, the share of female directors at the roughly 400 companies affected is above 40 percent, while women fill more than a quarter of the board seats at the 65 largest privately held companies .
Since 1985 more women than men have undertaken short tertiary Education (four years or less). In 2002, less than 16 % of men had undertaken short tertiary education, compared to 20 % of women. However, the picture changes for tertiary education lasting more than four years: 7 % of men and approximately 3 % of women. Despite the increased numbers of women in higher education, over 80 percent of all professors are men.
According to 2004 figures, 75% of all women aged 25-66 are on the workforce, compared to 82% of men. Participation of women with small children is also very high. Seventy-two per cent of women with children under the age of three are employed, while the figure for women with children aged 3-6 is 82 %. This can be explained both by generous state funded maternity leaves of 10 months (combined with paternity leaves 2 months), and full coverage of kindergardens for children. This allows women to combine motherhood and working life.
Women in Norway gained the right to vote in 1913. Now, Norway has a high percentage of women serving as representatives in the Storting (Norwegian national assembly). Some political parties have introduced gender quotas. In the Norwegian parliament and the municipalities women occupy about one third of the seats. The parliament for the Sami people had a female majority for the first time in the 2005 elections. The Sami people are the indigenous people of Sápmi in Northern Norway. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, attracted international attention in 1986 when she formed a cabinet in which nearly half of the members were women.
- The New York Times 18.05.2010 Motherhood: Norway Tops List of the Best Places to Be a Mother; Afghanistan Rates Worst
- The New York Times 27.01.2010: Getting Women Into Boardrooms, by Law
- The Guardian 17.11.2008 : On Norway's 2008 law on quotas for company directors
- Gender in Norway - public site on gender research, statistics and legislation in Norway.
- OECD, "Equity in Education Thematic Review: Norway" 
- Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality report : Gender Equality 2009? Objectives, strategy and measures for ensuring gender equality.
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.
For detailed information on Norway, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Norway page.