Iceland is bouncing back after the hard years following the 2008 crisis. In this month’s theme we tell the story of what happened that day, how Icelanders joined forces to stop anyone from going hungry and to stop hard-hit youths from becoming social outsiders. The worst is now over. New opportunities arise. Unemployment is falling nearly as fast as it rose, and as the economy improves Icelanders want a better life; more pay and more gender equality. Iceland is full of life, new ventures, inventions, a new concert hall and jobs for more people.
The agreement on a common Nordic labour market was signed on 22 May 1954. It means when the labour market goes belly-up in one country, Nordic citizens can look for a future in a different Nordic country. The Nordic Labour Journal hears six stories representing each of the six decades of borderless Nordic cooperation. They provide unique snapshots of time. These are tales of searching for a better existence and of the opportunities resulting from the Nordic countries' comprehensive cooperation. We also tell the story of how the unique agreement came to be as early as in 1954.
Working life goes through great changes from time to time. Globalisation forces jobs abroad, trades face tough competition as a result of liberalisation, new ways of organising work emerge or there is demographic change. Right now technology is having an overwhelming impact on working life. A combination of several technological changes, like robotisation and 3D printing, means the nature of manufacturing and services is changing completely. The Nordic Labour Journal looks at what technology means to working life.
For the first time ever, power is equally shared between men and women in Norway, according to the Nordic Labour Journal’s gender equality barometer. Norway has more women in positions of power, in boardrooms and in work than any other Nordic country. 40 years of Nordic cooperation has inspired progress. Different nations have led the way at different times. Finland has the most female boardroom members in the EU. Sweden is busy getting more women into leadership positions. Denmark’s government sees gender equality as the key to integration. Things are happening elsewhere too. After Italy introduced gender quotas, women have flocked into boardrooms and half of the Renzi government are women.
Poverty, unrest and riots in Swedish suburbs sent strong signals. The Nordic countries are known for their humanitarian attitudes and are attractive shelters for people who flee war and persecution. But the journey towards a better life demands something more. Open borders in Europe has led to a new wave of labour migrants from crisis-hit countries in the east and south, and poses new challenges for the Nordic region. There are growing variations between the countries for how generous or strict rules for immigration should be, but emphasis is now being put on finding ways to make sure those who are allowed to stay are secured the right to a better life where education and work is key.