Women in work are better off in Sweden and Norway

Business women
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

18 May 2016

Sweden and Norway are leading the way for gender equality in the workplace, while the UK is one of the worst, according to a new report.

The report, produced by Glassdoor Economic Research in cooperation with Llewellyn Consulting, presents an analysis of 12 key indicators of equal gender employment opportunities.

The Nordic countries accounted for the top three economies with consistent scores across employment rates, labour force participation and representation at management levels.

Finland was just slightly behind Sweden and Norway due to lower numbers for women in higher education.

Data from 18 countries in Europe was collated (as well as the U.S), counting the UK among the highest scoring in Europe for female management positions but one of the lowest in several other categories.

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist of Glassdoor, said: “In the UK there are fewer women than men in the workplace. However, this gap is considerably narrower for those with a university education.

"By contrast, Sweden, Norway and Finland all have an almost equal balance of men and women in the labour market and can be a lesson for the UK."

Countries by gender equality rank Best category Worst category
1. Sweden Employment after tertiary education Employment after secondary education
2. Norway Labour force participation 'Cost of motherhood'
3. Finland Employment rates Tertiary education enrolment
4. Estonia Employment in professional and technical positions Women as board members
5. Portugal Employment after secondary education Women as board members
6. France Women as board members Employment in professional and technical positions
7. Denmark Employment after tertiary education Employment as legislators, senior officials and managers
8. U.S Employment as legislators, senior officials and managers Employment after tertiary education
9. Belgium 'Cost of motherhood' Employment in professional and technical positions
10. Spain 'Cost of motherhood' Employment in professional and technical positions

The gender gap for those who have gone through tertiary (higher) education is around half of what it is for those with less than upper secondary education.

Greece received the lowest overall score in the study, owing largely to deficiencies in education equality.

Women are shown to be under-represented at upper management levels across the board with fewer than 40% of board members at listed companies being female.

The report also identified a 'cost of motherhood', referring to the increase in a gender pay gap evident for women with children.

Ireland had the biggest difference between women who are not mothers and those who have at least one child. The trend also counts against Germany, Norway and the UK.

Andrew commented: "British working mothers are significantly worse off than those without family responsibilities, and this pressure will not help the UK address its workplace diversity issues.”

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