Here’s Why Norway Is The Best Place For Working Women
9:30 am, June 13th | by Laura Simmons
Advancement in the workplace is one of the crucial things working women look for within their careers, but unfortunately, it is not a guaranteed benefit at most companies… or any for that matter in the U.S. So what is a working woman to do and how can she get to the top of the business food-chain? My advice: pack your bags and move to Norway.
Not only is Norway known as being one of the countries with the highest standards of living and the best place to live on Earth (as stated by the U.N Development Program), but now they have the best statistic of gender equality in the workplace! It’s like Utopia or something.
A recent study by Catalyst examined the percentage of board seats held by women in the global business world. At the top of this list was Norway with women holding 40.1 percent of top executive positions in the workplace. This comes in stark contrast to the U.S where only 16.1 percent of women hold board seats.
So why is Norway such a dominating country when it comes to gender equality in the business world? It’s all about their new gender laws. In 2003, the Norwegian parliament passed a law that mandated that the boards of companies and firms must have at LEAST 40-percent female representation by 2008. Since then, Norwegian companies have gradually increased the number of women holding top positions that were formally reserved for men. Talk about “Girl Power!”
But while many champion Norway’s advancements with gender equality in the workplace, the new law has created a storm of controversy as some claim the “quota” as being unfair and similar to affirmative action, which is itself a hotly debated topic. Norwegian companies did not have a choice when it came to abiding to the revolutionary law – they either had to accept or shut-down. So this obviously brings about the argument of whether or not this is a fair business practice. I, myself am a business woman and I while I think the advancement of women in the workplace and gender equality are significant factors within the industry, I would hope that I would be promoted because I deserved the position and not simply because I’m a female.
While the innovative thinking of the Norwegian government and its goal of creating a more equal opportunity workplace is well intentioned, it is, after all, a quota. The typical argument against certain affirmative action program applies with a vengeance here. How will someone know if she got the job because she deserved it. I’m all for the empowerment of women, but come on, let us earn it. The problem isn’t that we need help to even the playing field, we just need to be allowed on the field at all. Just let us play the game with the same rules as the guys. We don’t need the government to do it for us. Bravo, to our Norwegian sisters and brothers for their forward-thinking efforts, but let’s use the welcoming laws to prove our abilities, not force feed it.
But, regardless of my personal opinions, the majority seems in support of the new law and many other countries have followed suit including Sweden with 27.3 percent and Finland with 24.5 percent.
So ladies, I don’t know what your plans are for moving up the career ladder, but when I graduate college I for sure am going to use my graduation money and take a trip to Norway where the employment levels for women seem to be a lot more appealing than the current employment levels in the U.S. And if I can’t find a job there, at least I’ll be in the “Best Place on Earth”!