Never before has there been more gender equality in the Nordic countries when it comes to positions of power within politics and working life, according to the Nordic Labour Market’s barometer.
The really big symbolic changes sometimes happen without people noticing. The church in three of the five Nordic countries now has a woman as its highest leader. Compared to the rest of the world, this is where the Nordic region is now top when it comes to gender equality.
Gender equality in Denmark has been falling behind the rest of the Nordic countries, both when it comes to female boardroom representation and paternity leave, but now things are moving forward.
It is women who decide over most home purchases and their buying power is growing. Yet most products are created with men in mind. This is one of the reasons why Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova’s has created a unique new program which focuses on norm-critical innovation.
Magdalena Andersson and Margot Wallström in Sweden’s feminist government lift the country’s position in this year’s gender equality barometer. For the fifth year running the Nordic Labour Journal measures gender equality using our own barometer. It shows steadily improving gender equality in the Nordic region. This year we focus on churches where women are conquering top positions, Denmark where women are entering the boardrooms and Sweden’s drive for critical innovation with women in the lead.
Nordic countries should stop thinking a legally binding minimum wage for the EU would be tantamount to saying goodbye to the Nordic model. Learn from Norway, says the Council of Nordic Trade Unions and Danish labour market experts .
Nearly all European countries have now introduced a statutory minimum wage. At the end of 2014 Germany introduced a minimum wage of €8.50 an hour. But the Nordic countries are sticking to their agreement model.
On 1 February parts of the collective agreement covering the Norwegian fishery industry were made universally applicable, meaning agreed wages now apply to the whole of the country. Two days later it was time for the agreement for electricians. Support for the Norwegian minimum wage model is growing.
There is strong opposition to a statutory minimum wage in Sweden. But the parties in the transport trade have started talking about making collective agreements universally applicable. The reason: pay cuts and social dumping resulting from the freedom of movement.
Finland is one of the Nordic countries which has not had a public debate about a minimum wage. The Left Alliance (VF), which is the party furthest to the left in Finland, is the only political party which has called for a statutory minimum wage. In April’s general elections the party’s manifesto will also include a promised minimum hourly wage of €10 — around €1,600 a month.
Uber, Netflix and Airbnb are names associated with the sharing economy — a term which tries to describe the rapid changes in the way we consume goods and services. We rent rather than own, we swap, share, borrow or give away. New technology allows for new kinds of transactions, which in turn influences working life.
New digital services which bring sellers and buyers together are making inroads in traditional areas of business. Most successful of them all is American Airbnb which helps people rent out their apartments. The hotel industry in Finland is fighting back.
Mow the neighbours lawn? Quickly get hold of a skilled handyman? More and more digital marketplaces are emerging in order to facilitate the link between those who offer and those who need services. There are many different solutions, and two of the market’s players predict that things are only just starting.
The Nordic region can become a centre for the sharing economy, which would benefit all of society. But politicians are asleep at the wheel, thinks Charlotte Fischer from the Danish Social Liberal Party. She sits on the Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Congestion Commission and is a member of the regional council of The Capital Region of Denmark.
25 percent of workers in the EU have a job which causes them psychosocial problems like stress, according to the fifth European working conditions survey. The results have been analysed in a report by Eurofound in cooperation with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. But measuring work environments is considerably harder than measuring unemployment.
The Danish supermarket chain Netto has been nominated for this year’s Danish work environment award for improving its psychological work environment by preparing the group’s 10,000 mainly young employees in how to prevent and handle robberies and violent customers.
For Mathias Schou Sørensen and many other young Danes, a supermarket job is their first step into working life and their first meeting with work environment challenges — of which young people get more than their fair share.