Why Scandinavian countries lead in gender equity

Yesterday marked the latest Equal Pay Day in the U.S., and it was a milestone edition.

Not only was 2023 the 60th anniversary of the federal Equal Pay Act, but it was also a decade since the Equal Pay Today campaign was established. However, given the still-considerable lack of parity between men’s and women’s pay in the U.S. and further afield, was it cause for celebration?

Not quite yet, but there has been some improvement: The gender pay gap has been closed by 61%, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), which benchmarks 146 countries. The research, published in July 2022, calculated 132 years would need to elapse to achieve parity at the current rate of progress. 

While that represented a four-year improvement on the 2021 projection, the number 12 months earlier suggested the gap would have closed before the coronavirus struck. Saadia Zahidi, managing director at the Geneva-headquartered WEF, lamented a “generational loss” caused by the pandemic. 

The GGGI data revealed that Scandinavian countries lead the way, with Iceland the only economy to have closed more than 90% of the gender gap. Finland (86%), Norway (84.5%), New Zealand (84.1%), and Sweden (82.2%) complete the top five in the rankings.

What could other countries – and businesses – learn from the top-ranked nations?

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.