Internationally, Norwegian women are doing quite well but national figures show plenty of room for improvement. Photo: Jan Haas / NTB scanpix
First, the good news. According to the 2016 ‘glass ceiling index’ compiled by The Economist, Norway is the world’s second best nation for working women. The index, which measured factors including equal pay, higher education gaps, paid parental leave and women in politics, put Norway behind only Iceland at the very top of the list.
Norway’s overall score of 79.3 out of 100 was well above the OECD average of 56.0 and the nation’s gender wage gap of 6.3 percent was less than half of the OECD average of 15.5 percent.
As a whole, Nordic countries dominated The Economist’s index, with Sweden and Finland coming just behind Iceland and Norway and Denmark taking the eighth spot.
But International Women’s Day also brought some less welcome news for Norway.
New figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) showed that Norwegian women earn 13.9 percent less per month than their male counterparts, a gap that increased slightly over the previous year.
According to the SSB figures, the average monthly salary of a full-time male employee was 46,200 kroner in the third quarter of 2015, while women earned an average of 39,800 kroner. Women thus earn on average 86.1 percent of what men do. In 2014, the number was at 86.4 percent.
Stavanger Aftenblad compared the wages within 19 different branches and found that men bring home more money in 17 of them. The largest wage gaps were within finance and research, with female employees earning only 71 percent of what men earn.
Women only earned more than men within the construction and utilities fields, in large part due to the types of roles they fill.
“Women tend to work in administration and planning, as do men. But there are more men who work out in the field, laying piping, driving and sorting rubbish and they may have lower levels of education,” Anita Austigård, an operations manager for a water, sewage and sanitation company, told Stavanger Aftenblad.
Meanwhile, Klassekampen reported that the results of SSB's 2015 Leadership Survey showed that the top management positions in Norway are still very male dominated. According to the survey, nine out of ten business executives are men.
The survey showed that 88 percent of business leaders are men, while 73 percent of all top management positions nationwide are filled by men.
The culture sector was the most gender equal, with 58 percent male managers while the defence sector performed the worst, with men holding 93 percent of all managerial positions.