Men think women have won equality

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Two-thirds of all men questioned in a new survey believe women are equal to men in Norway. Only a quarter of women questioned believe that’s true, however, as the debate over gender equality rolls on.

The leaders of all four parties forming Norway’s conservative government are all women, but that doesn’t mean women have achieved full equality in the country. From left: the Christian Democrats’ Olaug Bollestad, Siv Jensen of the Progress Party, the Conservatives’ leader and prime minister, Erna Solberg and the Liberals’ Trine Skei Grande. PHOTO: Høyre/Hans Kristian Thorbjørnsen

The survey, conducted by research firm Respons Analyse for state broadcaster NRK, was released to coincide with Friday’s March 8th Kvinnedagen (International Women’s Day), which Norwegians have observed for decades. There’s no question women are far better off in Norway than in many other countries, and the country boasts many women in positions of power, not least in government.

In everyday life, however, women still earn less than men, men still hold the vast majority of top executive posts, there are still few female partners at major Norwegian law firms and women still tend to take on far more responsibility on the homefront than men do.

‘Not surprising’
That can explain why only 27 percent of women answered “yes” when asked the simple question: “Do you think women and men are equal in Norway?” That compared to fully 62 percent of the men questioned.

The survey results were more even on an overall basis, with 45 percent of all men and women questioned answering “yes” to the question and 50 percent answering “no.” The rest were unsure.

“I don’t think these numbers are very surprising,” said Marta Breen, a journalist and author who has written extensively about feminism and equality. “We know that women are more concerned about equality than men,” Breen told NRK.

Left-wingers less satisfied
The answers were most equal themselves in the counties of Agder, Rogaland, Oslo and Akershus, where fully 49 percent of everyone questioned believed that gender equality has been achieved in Norway. Divisions emerged, however, along political lines, with conservative Norwegians having more faith in the status of equality than those voting on the left side of politics, where 60 percent don’t think men and women are equal yet.

On an international basis, Norway remains among the most equal countries in the world, second only to Iceland, according to the latest Global Gender Gap Report (external link) produced by the World Economic Forum.

“It is a fact that Norway is one of the most egalitarian countries in the world,” Breen acknowledged, “but there are still weaknesses in many fields. When so many respond as they have (in NRK’s survey), it shows that we still have problems, too.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund