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Enhancing labour opportunities for women in the Nordic Countries


This comparative study between three small or medium-sized cities in the Nordic countries was aiming to identify and share best practices to improve labour market integration amongst immigrant women.

Marginalization remains a problem for many immigrant women in the Nordic countries, especially within the labour market. Research shows that labour force participation rates are lower among immigrant women, and that underemployment is more common amongst immigrant women. A pilot study realized at the University of Akureyri (Iceland) showed that immigrant women were one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the labour market in Iceland.

Many women occupy positions that do not fit with their level of education; despite having higher education-levels than men, 30% of immigrant women who took part in a survey in 2016 were in employment that did not suit their background, compared to 8% of Icelandic women. This difference has a direct impact on the income and immigrant women earned significantly less than Icelandic women (or immigrant men), as they were in occupations that did not take their education into consideration.

To address this matter, the project looked at policies and practices within three medium cities in three Nordic countries, namely Finland, Sweden and Iceland. The goal was to identify policies and practices that have an impact on the employment of immigrant women.