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Portrait

Portrait 2018

Ásmundur Einar Daðason: Time to overhaul the social safety net
Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Equality Ásmundur Einar is also responsible for labour market issues. He met the labour market parties already the first week after becoming a government minister. Right now two issues are extremely important, he believes: To maintain the good relations with the labour market parties and strengthening the trust between the ministry, the government and the parties.
OsloMet’s Rector Curt Rice wants to shake up academia
Oslo has a new university, the third largest in Norway. OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, will educate the future labour force across a range of professions. If Rector gets his way, gender equality will permeate everything. Digitalisation will be a top priority and programmes will be developed at the intersection of research, teaching and practice.
Anna Söderbäck: #metoo shows a need for a new type of leadership
#metoo has spread like wildfire across the Nordic region. In Sweden, 65 different trades gathered their stories under different banners. First were the artists with hashtags like #tystnadtagning (silence, filming) and #ViSjungerUt (we’re singing out). Anna Söderbäck also shared her experiences. Now she is calling for a new type of leadership.

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Portrait 2014

Solveig Horne, minister with a blue-blue view of Norwegian integration
“I am now in government,” says the Progress Party’s Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Solveig Horne. She will stick to the cooperation agreement with the Conservatives and the supporting parties the Liberals and Christian Democrats. There’s a lot of good Progress Party politics right there, says the government minister. She has “no comment” about party colleagues who call for more Progress Party politics.
The salary gap: a stain on Finland’s reputation
When it comes to female representation in business and politics, Finland is a leader in the EU in a range of fields. The Ombudsman for Equality, Pirkko Mäkinen, is particularly pleased with the fact that Finland has better female representation in boardrooms than any other EU country - 27 percent - without having to use gender quotas. Compared to its Nordic neighbours, Finland even has a high proportion of women in political positions of power. But apart from that, she finds little cause for celebration.
Ólafía Rafnsdóttir: Women needed in the wage rate decision process
Iceland is known internationally for its strong female leaders, but men have been the ones deciding wage rates. Ólafía B. Rafnsdóttir became the first female President in 122 years of Iceland’s trade union for commercial workers, VR, when she was elected last year.
Stine Bosse: Keep the Nordic region a sweet spot
The Nordic region is a privileged sweet spot, and should remain one. But it means fully embracing the EU says Danish Stine Bosse, named one of the world’s most powerful businesswomen many times over.
Mikael Sjöberg: rebuilding trust in the Public Employment Service
Mikael Sjöberg again leads one of Sweden’s most important working life institutions. On 17 March the Reinfeldt government appointed him Director-General for the Swedish Public Employment Service. He came from the post of Director-General for the Swedish Work Environment Authority, and before that he led the National Institute for Working Life. His challenge now is to build trust in the Public Employment Service, which has come in for a lot of criticism.
Kvinfo Director: The Nordics can’t afford not to be gender equal
Modern gender equality must liberate both sexes, and the Nordic region must be at the forefront of this. It is too expensive not to, says Nina Groes, Director at the Danish Centre for Information on Gender, Equality and Diversity, Kvinfo.
Ylva Johansson: Minister for Employment with a feminist agenda
Her ambitions are clear: youth unemployment is priority number one. Second on the list is to match jobseekers and jobs. She wants to improve working conditions in female-dominated workplaces and she will fight for more social rights within the EU.
Gerd Kristiansen: Norwegian LO leader with a backbone
There is tension in the air. The leader for Norway’s largest labour organisation is incensed with the government’s labour policies and its lack of cooperation on the proposed new work environment act which would grant employers more powers to hire people on temporary contracts. Her determination can be felt across the room.

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Portrait 2013

Anniken Huitfeldt: Minister of Labour with an eye for equality
”More people can do some work” says Anniken Huitfeldt when I meet Norway’s new Minister of Labour just as we enter 2013. There are parliamentary elections in September. So where will she make her mark in the next six months; where does she want to make a difference as Minister of Labour in Jens Stoltenberg’s government?
Katrín Jakobsdóttir - party leader during times of change
She is young, skilled and popular and has just been elected party leader for Iceland’s Left-Green Movement (VG). She will lead her party into parliamentary elections at the end of April, under what for Iceland are unusual circumstances were the former party leader is one of the party’s strongest candidates in the election.
Greenland’s new leader inspired by Mandela
Greenland politics is literally on the move after the 12 March elections. Boxes, lever arch files and personal belongings are strewn around corridors of the devolved government in the centre of Nuuk, while newly elected members move into their new offices, and meeting rooms are changing owners.
Bjarne Brøndbo, the employer who didn’t say no after the first attempt
He stood there with his cigaret behind his ear, asking: Bjarne, where can I smoke? “That was the first thing he said to me,” says employer Bjarne Brøndbo. After a few hours he was ready to give up on the school dropout. He called the Labour and Welfare Service (NAV) and said he didn’t think it would work. Give him one more chance, said Randi Nyheim Aglen from the youth team. That was the beginning of a good story. What happened?
Christina Colclough is fascinated by the Nordic cooperation model
After living in the Nordic countries for nearly 30 years, British-Danish Christina Colclough, the new Secretary General at the Council of Nordic Trade Unions, NFS, is still fascinated by the Nordic welfare and labour market model. It fuels innovation, competitiveness and productivity, she says.
Dagfinn Høybråten’s new Nordic project: health cooperation
Much tighter cooperation between Nordic health services is in the pipeline and if it succeeds the cooperation model can easily be expanded to include other policy areas which would help develop the Nordic welfare model. That’s the vision of the project’s chief architect, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten.
Sture Fjäder challenges Finland’s trade union culture
Strengthening the Nordics as an economic region, cutting income tax, reviewing the priorities of the welfare state – these are just a few of the issues on union boss Sture Fjäder’s agenda for Finland and the Nordic region.
Kaj Leo Johannesen: The Faroe Islands’ challenge is to keep hold of its youths
Since 28 August the Faroe Islands have been boycotted by the EU and Norway because of a dispute over North Atlantic herring and mackerel. Faroese vessels are banned from landing these two species in the EU, Prime Minister Kaj Leo Johannesen tells the Nordic Labour Journal.
Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs: The importance of writing off debts
Eygló Harðardóttir is the Minister of Social Affairs in Iceland’s new government. The low number of female ministers and women in parliamentary committees has created heated debate. Most committees have an uneven gender distribution, which goes against the law. But the new minister is not particularly worried. She reckons the number of women will rise soon.

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