New Report: the Nordic Countries Still Leading the Way in Gender Equality

The Nordic countries have reduced the gender gaps by 84 %, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, published by the World Economic Forum.

The Global Gender Gap Report has been presented by the World Economic Forum every year since 2006 and measures gender differences in four categories: economy, political representation, health and education. This year 142 countries are included in the review.

Only Nordic counties are found in the top five (last year’s ranking in parentheses):

Iceland (1)

Finland (2)

Norway (3)

Sweden (4)

Denmark (8)

The Nordic countries are leading the way in gender equality.  Illustration: Global Gender Gap 2014 by WEF

The Nordic countries are leading the way in gender equality. Illustration: Global Gender Gap 2014 by WEF

Investments in gender-equal health and education is a key factor behind the Nordic success, says the report. These investments also help reduce the gender gaps in the other categories: Nordic women show strong participation in the labour market and politics, too. Worth noting is that the report does not consider in which political fields women are represented. We know from before that women show higher representation rates in traditionally ‘female’ areas such as the domains of health and care, whereas their participation in male-dominated areas such as national defence and transportation is much lower.

The Nordic countries generally offer ample opportunities for childcare and generous amounts of parental leave. These are two factors with a positive impact on women’s political and economic participation. Well-educated and healthy women also tend to transfer these traits to their children, which affects the development of society positively, not least in an economic perspective, according to the report.

The report points out that many other countries have also reduced the gender gaps in health and education, but their gender differences in the other two categories remain substantial. This means that once women enter the labour market, the gender differences increase again. The Nordic countries are identified as international role models in this regard and remain world leaders in the work for gender equality.

Overall, the Global Gender Gap Report 2014 concludes that at the current global pace, gender equality in the workplace won’t be achieved until the year 2095.


Logotype Nordic Council of Ministers Logotype Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research Logotype University of Gothenburg