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Pay Equity in the Nordic region

The project’s purpose is to contribute to reducing the wage differences that still exist between women and men in the Nordic countries, by creating dialogue between the countries and the labor market partners about how to move forward and achieve success, based on current measures, experience and knowledge. To do this, the project will look more closely at the experiences and knowledge that exist and at measures that are being carried out or have recently been taken to balance the differences. During the pandemic, the exchange of experience between the Nordic countries was limited in this matter. New national commissions, committees and working groups with different mandates are now working in several of the countries. The project intends to gather experience and knowledge from the countries to promote Nordic dialogue and enable joint efforts for an equal working life.

A crucial question is whether the focus on equal pay (equal pay for the same or similar work) has brought the Nordic countries to a point where we instead need to promote equal pay for work of equal value (pay equity). There will be a focus on work of a different nature, but with the same/similar requirements for knowledge and skills, responsibility and demands for effort. Work of “equal value” includes but goes beyond “equal work”. Equal pay for work of equal value covers not only cases where women and men perform the same or similar work, but also the situation where they perform different work.

The key to understanding equal pay for work of equal value (pay equity) is a gender-neutral job evaluation to determine whether two different jobs are of equal value and therefore should be compensated equally. Here, it is necessary to ask critical questions about the current work evaluation system, because many indicators show a built-in error that leads to undervaluation in the working life sectors that over the years mostly employed women.

The overall goal of the project is to promote dialogue and the exchange of experiences and knowledge about how wage differences can be managed, between the Nordic countries and the labor market partners. This will be done by:

  • getting an updated overview of national initiatives and ongoing work related to the gender pay gap
  • establishing cooperation with relevant Nordic actors involved in labor market issues and the work against the gender pay gap
  • strengthening exchange in the area of equal pay, pay equity and work evaluation, filling knowledge gaps, and building alliances in the Nordic countries
  • creating a dialogue on how to move forward and reduce the gender pay gap with a focus on knowledge and experience-based ideas by organizing meetings and events and documenting work done.

Project timespan

Commissioned by
Nordic Council of Ministers

Jimmy Sand

Project budget
1 500 000 DKK