The wage gap between women and men in Norway increased for the first time in five years

Wage gap equalityPhoto: Berit Roald / NTB

For the first time in five years, the difference between women and men in terms of average monthly wages in Norway increased. The cause? The corona pandemic.

In 2019, men earned NOK 6,170 more than women. In 2020, the gap increased to NOK 6,440, newspaper Klassekampen writes.

That is the first time the gap has increased since 2015.

The increasing wage gap is primarily due to the fact that unemployment has increased faster among women than men in the coronavirus pandemic era. 

In 2020, the proportion of unemployed females in the labor force increased by 1.2 percentage points, while the proportion of men increased by 0.8 percentage points.


The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), and the Socialist Left Party (SV) fear the corona crisis will reverse gender equality.

“The fact that women with low formal competence are hit hard can mean a setback for gender equality. We must ensure that women’s occupational participation does not fall behind,” work-life director Nina Melsom at the NHO told the newspaper.

The increased differences are partly due to the fact that far more women than men work part-time, 34.9% against 15.3%.

Young women who work in the municipal sector are a small exception. In 2019, women in the age group 20–29 earned a little more than their male colleagues of the same age, Kommunal Rapport writes.

But at the age of 30, it turns around, and the men’s wage lead increases the older the workers get.

Recent survey

A recent survey from Ipsos shows that although most Norwegians believe that the gender pay gap is real and important, the population is divided in their views on how prioritized the issue should be.

A total of 43% believe that closing the pay gap between the sexes is important but should not be one of Norway’s most important priorities right now, while 42% believe that the issue should be one of the highest priorities.

Women believe to a greater extent than men that the wage gap should be one of the most important priorities, with 50% compared to 34%.

At the same time, a clear majority believes that those who work in traditionally female occupations such as nurses or other care workers are poorly paid for the work they do.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayFinance

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