Nordic co-operation on gender equality and LGBTI

Equal opportunities and a good work-life balance are not just a matter of rights – they are good for the economy. Promoting gender equality has helped generate prosperity in the Nordic countries. Affordable childcare, education and parental leave for both mothers and fathers have enhanced well-being and triggered economic growth. Meet six people who are balancing their lives – at home and at work. This is #NordicEquality

Gender equality is one of the areas in which the Nordic countries have worked the most closely together, and this has helped make the Nordic Region one of the most gender-equal places in the world. Until recently, equal rights for LGBTI people were not part of this official Nordic co-operation. However, in January 2020, the ministers initiated co-operation on equal rights, treatment and opportunities for LGBTI people in the Nordic Region.

The Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI (MR-JÄM) is responsible for the inter-governmental co-operation.

The Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality and LGBTI (EK-JÄM) prepares questions for discussion by MR-JÄM and follows up on cases in a number of priority policy areas in between meetings of the ministers.

The shared culture, history and democratic traditions of the Nordic countries have facilitated close and constructive co-operation on gender equality and LGBTI affairs.

In 1974, the Nordic Council of Ministers decided that each government would appoint someone to maintain contact with the other governments on gender equality issues. A few years later, they drew up an action programme for co-operation on gender equality issues and a committee of senior officials was set up.


Now that LGBTI issues have been incorporated into the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers, it will be easier to learn from each other, develop initiatives that work, and acts as a strong single voice at international level. Working together, the Nordic countries can be a leading force for the protection and promotion of LGBTI rights in the world. The first step in the new co-operation is a mapping exercise and analysis of the current LGBTI situation in the Nordic Region.

National comparisons

Gender equality may be better or less advanced in the different Nordic countries, but there is always something to inspire the others. If we look at the five nations as a group, it is easier to see that progress towards a more gender-equal society been constant since the 1970s.

International studies regularly rank the Nordic countries among the most gender-equal in the world. However, studies of the distribution of power and statistics show that there is still plenty to do.

Gender-segregated labour markets

By world standards, the proportion of Nordic women in work is high, but women do not enjoy equal terms and conditions with men. The world of work is still gender-segregated, and the pay gap still persists. More women also have part-time jobs than men. A great deal also remains to be done to stop violence against women.

This page contains links to the current political programmes for co-operation on equality between the sexes as well as a broad range of information about the current state of gender equality and LGBTI work in the Nordic Region and on how it is being developed.

LGBTI is the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex. Although the abbreviations used in the various Nordic countries may differ, LGBTI is the acronym used in all official Nordic co-operation as the equivalent to usage in other international organisations.

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ action plan for Vision 2030

The action plan describes how the Nordic Council of Ministers will work to achieve the objectives of the vision through a series of initiatives linked to the vision’s three strategic priorities: a green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region, and a socially sustainable Nordic Region. There are 12 objectives linked to the strategic priorities. The strategic priorities and objectives govern all the activities of the Nordic Council of Ministers over the next four years. The action plan is divided into 12 sections, each one linked to one of the 12 objectives.