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Labour market

03.07.19 | Tölfræði
Globally, women are substantially less likely than men to participate in the labour market, and once in the workforce, they are also less likely to find jobs than men. The Nordic countries are renowned for their high level of gender equality as they have among the world's highest employment and education rates for women.

Labour market status

A long period of policies aiming to achieve equal possibilities and prerequisites for men and women on the labour market in the Nordics has yielded results. The difference between male and female participation in the labour force is significantly lower in all Nordic countries compared to the EU average. Contributing factors may be a commitment to equal workplaces, subsidised childcare and generous parental leave.




The Nordic countries are well above the OECD average when it comes to the share of women participating in the labour market. At the same time the Nordic countries also have greater horizontal segregation by sex than the rest of the EU. That is, most women work in different occupations than most men. The gender segregation of labour is often seen as the main reason behind the gender wage gap in the Nordic region.

Part-time work

The proportion of women working part-time is higher than the proportion of men working part-time in the Nordic countries. While the possibility to work part-time may have a positive effect on the labour participation rate among women, it may still affect the economic situation of women in the Nordics negatively. One factor explaining the difference in part-time employment between men and women is the generally higher proportion of part-time work in sector predominantly occupied by women.