There has been no overall change in the distribution of powerful positions in the Nordic region, according to the NLJ’s gender equality barometer for 2017. Yet there is an increase in the number of women in top positions within trade unions, employers’ organisations and labour government ministries.
There was great concern in the Nordic countries a few years ago that they would be hit by an age shock. The fear was an increasing lack of labour as a result of falling numbers of young and middle aged people. But out of the four main demographic drivers, only one developed as expected: Populations are ageing.
The labour market is changing. When the Nordic labour ministers met in Helsinki on 29 November, the integration of refugees into the labour market and challenges like demographics, new technology and a fragmented labour market were among the central issues. Together with the ILO, the discussion carried on around the future of work and gender equality.
More than 90 percent of Nordic women prefer to work outside of the home, according to the ILO survey which was presented at the Global Gender Dialogue conference during the labour ministers’ meeting in Helsinki. Luckily. Nordic women’s participation in the labour market is unique. Is there then anything we could learn from women in completely different parts of the world?
“This is exciting,” state secretary Christl Kvam told the Nordic Labour Journal as she debuted at the Nordic ministers’ meeting as a representative for the upcoming Norwegian Presidency.
The Nordic countries stand out with higher levels of well-being than anywhere else in the world, explained by the fact that women are expected to be active in the labour market and make an important contribution to household income. Yet men do not understand that women are facing a harder time in the labour market than themselves.
The ILO’s Deborah Greenfield: In dialogue with the Nordics on gender equality and the future of work
Deborah Greenfield was part of the transitional administration from Bush to Obama, she served as Deputy Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labour, she was a legal expert for the USA’s largest trade union AFL-CIO. Now, as the Deputy Director General, she is about to take the ILO into a new era. Meeting Nordic labour ministers, Deborah Greenfield is impressed with the discussion.
Nordic cooperation for 2017 has been given title: A Europe in transition needs a strong Nordic Region. So what is needed to build and promote the region? More sharing of knowledge? Greater focus on the Nordic welfare model? Greater focus on which values that the Nordics choose to follow? Is a more authoritarian labour market a choice the Nordics will make?
Henrik Normann heads one of the most successful Nordic institutions, the Nordic Investment Bank. It is celebrating 40 years in business, and was founded with capital from all of the five Nordic countries.
Do the Nordics spend too little money on Nordic welfare? Yes, believes Iceland’s Minister for Nordic Cooperation Eygló Harðardóttir. She sees great opportunities for more welfare cooperation, and supports a proposed Nordic welfare forum and a system for common welfare indicators, to be better prepared for future crises.