Policy Areas

Gender equality policies has been more or less successfully integrated into the following areas: families and relationships; work, welfare and the economy; power and decision-making; education and research; crime and violence; peace and development; culture, media and sports; and health and reproductive rights. Other policy areas: transport and communication; finance; agriculture and food; fisheries and coastal affairs; petroleum and energy; and the environment are still at an earlier phase. 

A number of steps have been taken to ensure men and women equal access to higher education, equal opportunities for participation in the labour force and in choice of occupation. Today, women and men have more or less equal levels of education, and women’s participation in working life has increased dramatically since the 1960s. However, work towards achieving equal access to resources is still clearly unfinished. Women’s income still stands at approximately 60 per cent of men’s. This is largely due to the gender segregated labour market in Norway - most women work in the public sector and most men in the private sector. Pregnant women are discriminated against in workplaces, and equal pay is still an unachieved goal. This inequality in what women and men earn is also closely related to the low level of entrepreneurship among women compared to men and the fact that men hold the majority of key political, economic and other decision-making positions. 

A number of steps have also been taken by successive Norwegian governments towards supporting two-career families. But the efforts involved in facilitating a reconciliation of work and family life are hindered by what is referred to as the ‘caring deficit’ - the gap between the need for care and the availability of its supply. Care arrangements for children and other dependents are relatively good, but not good enough. In addition, the division of responsibilities within households between men and women is unequal - women still do most of the housework. They also take most of the available parental leave and it is they who utilize the cash benefit scheme.

The diversity of post-modern lifestyles also raises new gender issues, such as childhood dominated by female parenting after separations, or the problems men living in same sex partnerships face in establishing families and having children. 

On the question of ageing, women generally live longer than men. The fertility rate in Norway is relatively high compared to other western countries. 

Many illnesses are gendered, due, not only to biological differences between women and men, but also to differing lifestyles and the socio-economic conditions in which men and women live. In the area of reproductive health, Norway was quick to recognise women’s right to make decisions about their bodies, including freedom of choice in terms of abortion. There is however more work to be done in other health areas. Many illnesses that women are prone to are not prioritised, and treatments for these illnesses are comparatively under-resourced. 

Gender-based violence has gained recognition in Norwegian society as a social problem, demanding the attention and focus of the authorities. However, domestic violence, rape, prostitution and human trafficking continue to be major barriers to gender equality. Perpetrators of gender-based violence are mostly men and those subject to these forms of violence are largely women. Norway has developed a number of measures for the prevention of these forms of violence, for the protection of the victims as well as for responding to the perpetrators. There are shelters for battered women, and men who are violent have access to treatment and counselling. 

Norway’s national gender issues are more or less the same as those found internationally. Norway aims to mainstream gender in Norwegian foreign policy, in the areas of peace and reconciliation and development cooperation. 

Religion, culture and sports are all areas which present a number of ongoing challenges to gender equality. Population, including issues around immigration and the situation of refugees and asylum seekers, is also an area with a number of challenges to gender equality. 

Resources for Gender Equality

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Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Norway's fifth periodic report to the UN Human Rights Committee

The report summarizes: "Norwegian women are well integrated into working and political life, the welfare system ensures that poverty is a relatively marginal phenomenon and single parents, mostly women, are ensured necessary public support. This does not mean, however, that there are no gender gaps and challenges to gender equality. The most important ones are related to the economic sphere, gender-based violence and the interface between gender and other forms of discrimination such as ethnic background, disability and sexual orientation."

Read more at the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality

Human rights 2004/2005 - Annual Report on Norway's Efforts to Promote Human Rights

For many years Norway has provided support to the United Nations, the World Bank and the regional development banks in order to strengthen funds, programmes, activities and expertise that promote gender equality. The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are some examples of funds and organisations whose efforts targeting women and gender equality receive special support from Norway. From the chapter on gender equality; "Women’s assumption of positions of power and their entry into the public arena is a significant factor in the development of democracy and human rights. Women in Norway have attained a relatively strong position in political leadership, but less progress has been made as regards women’s influence and representation in business, the industry and the media."

Read more at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HIV positive immigrant women triply discriminated

The Ministry of Health and Care Services described HIV positive immigrant women as triply discriminated - because they are women, because they are immigrants and because they are HIV positive. Women are therefore a high priority target group in the efforts to prevent HIV. In its report, the Ministry states: “In our efforts to prevent HIV and sexually transmissible diseases, we must be aware that there must be great differences in approaches and strategies, based on an evaluation of the target groups and the goals of prevention. Linguistic and cultural barriers often contribute to creating distance between immigrants and the health service. It has proved to be extremely important to use people from peer groups when informing people about issues such as cohabitation, sexuality, HIV and sexually transmissible diseases." 

Paragraph 247 in the 17th / 18th periodic report submitted by Norway under article 9 of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Read more at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

OECD thematic review of tertiary education

The country background report for Norway, which states the national equity objectives: "At least since World War II, education for all has been an ambition and a goal in Norwegian education policy. For higher education, the main national equity objectives may be divided in two groups. The first group is policy focusing on increasing equity of opportunity by improving access to tertiary education, while the second group concerns increasing equity of outcome, and thus focuses more on equity in tertiary education".

Read more at The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research

Evaluation of the "Strategy for Women and Gender Equality in Development Cooperation (1997-2005)

The report is an evaluation of the implementation of the Norwegian Strategy for Women and Gender Equality in Development Cooperation. It includes an analysis of how the embassies in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Zambia have organised their women and gender equality efforts. The evaluation focuses on bilateral aid, primarily the institutional aspects, including organisation, resources, communication and decision-making. The evaluation was carried out by the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research. 

Read more at The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)

The UN Secretary-General's study on Violence against Children - Norwegian report

Information from Norway in response to the questionnaire from the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children: "The implementation of measures to combat violence against children is tailored to the different needs of boys and girls, and gender-specific provisions are therefore not specified in central policy documents. These documents do, however, take account of the fact that according to a number of studies, there seems to be a difference in the kind and extent of violence inflicted on girls and boys and that the effects of the same kind of violence are often gender-specific."

Read more at the Office of the High commisioner of Human Rights

Norway's 7th CEDAW Report

The seventh periodic report to the United Nations on Norway's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Read more at un.org

Commission on Paternity NOU 2009: 5

On 28 March 2008, the Norwegian Government appointed a Commission to propose amendments to the Children Act concerning establishment and change of paternity and maternity, etc. The purpose is to adapt the Act to the major social and technological developments that have taken place with regard to developments in family patterns, the possibility of assisted fertilisation and establishment of paternity with a high degree of certainty.

Read more at the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion

Structure for Equality

The Equality Commission was established by a Royal Decree of 12 February 2010 in order to report on Norway’s gender equality policies based on people’s lifecycle, ethnicity and social class. The goal of its work is to lay the foundation for an integrated, knowledge-based equality policy for the future. The commission has now delivered its first report: NOU 2011: 18 Structure for Equality. A summary is available in English.

Read more at the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion

Women, Peace and Security: Norway's Strategic Plan 2011-13. 2011 Progress ReportWomen, Peace and Security: Norway's Strategic Plan 2011-13. 2011 Progress Report

In January 2011, the Norwegian Government’s Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, adopted in 2006, was updated and strengthened through the launch of Women, Peace and Security: Norway’s Strategic Plan 2011-2013. The UN Security Council has adopted four new resolutions on women, peace and security (SCR 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960), and the Norwegian framework needed to be updated. Furthermore, the action plan needed to be translated into concrete action in order to improve the reporting process and the verifiability of Norway’s implementation.

Read more at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

National Plan of Action to Combat Racism and Discrimination (2002–2006)

The plan states that: It is particularly difficult for people who are discriminated against both on grounds of their beliefs, skin colour or ethnic or national background and on other grounds, such as gender, disability, illness or sexual orientation. In these cases, discrimination within a person’s community or family is an additional burden on top of the discrimination exercised by the majority community.

Read more at the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development

Domestic Violence (2004-2007)

The approach of this action plan to help and protection is to take victims of violence and their experiences seriously. The measures in the plan aim to support the victims’own efforts to get out of the situation they are in and to make it possible for them to take responsibility for their own lives and for the lives of any children they may have.

Read more at The Ministry of Justice and Police

Norwegian Action Plan for Environment in Development Cooperation

Norway intends to support both Norwegian and international NGOs, focusing particularly on and promoting the participation of women in the management of natural resources. The plan also states that “key principles are that developing countries must own their development agenda, and that our contributions must be rights-based and emphasise women’s rights and their importance for development." 

Read more at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (PDF)

The Norwegian Government’s Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security

The Government (2005-2009) has developed a Norwegian action plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The plan was developed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and the Police, and Children and Equality. The implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 is in keeping with Norway’s commitment to promoting global security, peace and justice, as set out in the Government’s policy platform.

Read more at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (PDF)

Action Plan against Domestic Violence 2008-2011 - Turning point

Through this Action Plan, the Government is introducing measures that will help ensure that the police, educational institutions and support services are better trained, better coordinated and more capable of detecting, preventing and dealing with the many complex issues raised by domestic violendce. The measures contained in ths Action Paln will be implemented in the period 2008-2011.

Read more at the Ministry of Justice and the Police

United against human trafficking. The Government’s Plan of Action against Human Trafficking (2011–2014)

The Government's new action plan against human trafficking is part of the long-term efforts to combat all forms of human trafficking, whether national or international. The action plan has been drawn up by the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Health and Care Services, the Ministry of Justice and the Police, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read more at the Ministry of Justice and Public Security

Action plan against forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and severe restrictions on young people`s freedom (2013-2016)

Young people should be able to choose their education, their career and their future partners. Children and adolescents have the right to a life free from violence and serious restrictions to their individual freedom. Forced marriage and female genital mutilation are defined as domestic violence. These are serious violations of Norwegian law and of basic human rights.

Read more at the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion

Equal rights - equal opportunities. Action Plan for Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy 2013-15

Gender equality is a goal in its own right - we have a moral obligation to promote and protect women’s fundamental human rights. Gender equality is,however, also one of the most effective drivers of economic development, fairdistribution, peace and democracy. Gender equality means putting an end todiscrimination and that making it possible for everyone to live to their full potential.

Read more at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

National strategy to combat violence and sexual abuse against children and youth (2014–2017)

As a society, Norway has come a long way in its efforts to protect children and adolescents from violence, sexual abuse and bullying. All the same, violence and sexual abuse, whether in the family or elsewhere, are a part of daily life for many children. The strategy and programmatic measures presented here are the result of collaboration and coordination among four ministries. It is the shared foundation of knowledge and set of priorities for combating violence and sexual abuse against children and young people, both within the family and in the other environments they frequent.

Read more at the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion

Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy 2016-2020

The fundamental aim of Norway's gender equality efforts is to increase the opportunities available to women and girls, promote their right to self-determination, and further their empowerment. This is crucial if girls, boys, women and men are to have equal rights and equal opportunities.

Norway has a long tradition of working for women's rights and gender equality. If we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality must be at the heart of the international agenda.

Read more at Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Office for Children, Youth and Family Affairs and Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs

The Office for Children, Youth and Family Affairs is an agency under the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. It is divided into five underlying regional organisations and an overall executive body, called the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. The Directorate is responsible for services relating to child welfare, family counselling, adoption, violence in close relationships, equality and non-discrimination.

Read more at the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs

The Norwegian Government

The Government will combat all forms of discrimination. Everyone has a right to self-development and to utilise his/her abilities and live his/her own life, irrespective of gender, social background, religion, sexual orientation, disability or ethnic background. The Ministry of Culture has the main responsibility for the work relating to the government's gender equality policy. The Ministry deals with gender equality in working life, women and power, and men and equality. It is a driving force in the work of developing a gender perspective in the national budget.

Read more at the Ministry of Culture

The Ministries

Gender equality is also to be mainstreamed in all the work of the state’s central administration. The ministries have the responsibility of promoting gender equality in all their areas of activity. The Ministry of Culture is at the same time responsible for coordinating the gender equality policy.

Read more at the Ministry of Culture

The Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud

The ombudsman is an alternative to court proceedings in cases of discrimination, and is a low threshold option that is easily accessible. The ombud provides advice and guidance, and in complaint proceedings, they provide an opinion on whether or not discrimination has occurred. It is also a control body for ensuring compliance with Norwegian gender equality law, and it monitors Norwegian implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Read more at the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud

The Equality and Anti-discrimination Tribunal

The Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal is a complaints body which makes decisions on specific complaints of discrimination and harassment submitted to the body. The tribunal is intended to be a real alternative to going through the courts in cases of harassment or discrimination, and plays an important role in the application of law in the field of equality and anti-discrimination.The Tribunal is administratively placed under The Ministry of Culture.

Read more at The Equality and Anti-discrimination Tribunal

LGBT Knowledge Centre

The LGBT Knowledge Centre is a centre within the Norwegian government whose aim is to increase knowledge about the lives of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons. It is working for a better life for everyone - regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Their goal is to inform civil servants in regional and local authorities in order for them to have a better knowledge about the challenges the LGBT community face in everyday life.

Read more at the LGBT Knowledge Centre

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)

Norad’s mandate is to promote effective management of funds for development assistance and ensure that Norwegian development cooperation is quality assured and evaluated. Norad has two main roles in Norwegian development cooperation:  It acts as technical advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norwegian embassies and it administers assistance for civil society. In the past few years Norwegian development cooperation has reflected an attempt to reorient activities related to women and gender equality.

Read more at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)

Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research (Kif)

The Kif committee provides support and recommendations on measures contributing to gender balance and diversity in the Norwegian research sector. In the current working period, diversity is defined as ethnic diversity. The purpose of the committee’s work is two-fold: (1) To contribute to gender balance and diversity among employees in the Norwegian research sector and (2) to contribute to working with diversity perspectives, among these gender perspectives, in research.

Read more at kifinfo.no


A website with resources for those who work for an improved gender balance and diversity in the research sector, and those who are interested in issues on gender equality in science. The website is run by Kilden, on assignment for Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research.

Read more at Kifinfo

Crisis centres and resource centres for rape victims

There are 45 crisis centres/shelters distributed throughout Norway (at least one in every county). The majority are open 24-hours a day. 

The centres provide advice, support and counselling for persons who have been subjected to mistreatment, violence or abuse at home. They also provide temporary shelter for victims and their children. 

Read more at bufdir.no

Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, NKVTS

Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies develops and disseminates knowledge and competence in the field of violence and traumatic stress. The centre’s objective is to help prevent and reduce the health-related and social consequences that can follow from exposure to violence and traumatic stress. The centre emphasizes issues related to ethnicity and dimensions of age and gender.

Read more at Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, NKVTS

Pro Sentret

Pro Sentret (the Pro Centre) is a Norwegian national resource centre on all matters related to prostitution. As a social service centre for men and women in prostitution the Pro Centre's main aims are to provide help, support and advice to women and men in prostitution.

Read more at Pro Senteret

Kilden genderresearch.no

Kilden genderresearch.no is a national knowledge centre for gender perspectives and gender balance in research. They disseminate and promote research on gender, and function as a hub for gender researchers and all others interested in research on gender and equality.

Read more at Kilden genderresarch.no

Reform - resource center for men

Reform – resource center for men is a politically independent non-profit organisation founded in 2002 by the men’s helpline. Reform receives its core funding from the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, and project funding from both government institutions and private sources.

Read more at reform.no

Women, Peace and Security: Progress Report 2012

The second progress report on the Government's implementation of Norway's strategic plan provides an overview of Norway’s priorities as well as examples of activities and results from 2012. It also identifies challenges and priority areas for Norway’s efforts in 2013.

Read more


Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises - Conference statement


The Governments of Norway, Iraq, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), hosted the international conference “Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises” in Oslo, Norway on 23-24 May. Read the joint statement from the conference.

Read more at government.no

She Figures 2018: Some progress, but not fast enough


Academia lacks gender balance when it comes to salary, academic level and subject area. Experts are calling for stronger measures to achieve gender balance.

Read more at kifinfo.no.

Cars are still designed for men


With its research on safety for all, Volvo has a clear gender perspective on industrial innovation. So far they are quite alone in this respect.

Read more in the newsmagazine at Kilden genderresearch.no.

Gender and quality create conflict when hiring academics


Many believe it is difficult to reconcile demands for gender equality and measures such as moderate quotas with academia’s conception of quality. This is according to a new master’s thesis on assessments and gender in hiring processes for senior-level positions.

Read more at Kifinfo.no

Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide launches new humanitarian strategy


"The Government will give special priority to protecting children and young people, combating sexual and gender-based violence, and protecting civilians against mines and other explosives," said Eriksen Søreide.

Read more at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

No more Norwegian input to the EU


The Ministry of Education and Research will nonetheless assess whether a greater focus on gender balance and the gender dimension is needed in the EU’s new research programme. The Research Council and the KIF Committee are cautiously optimistic.

Read more at Kifinfo

SSB's population projections: fertility continues to fall


Fertility continues to fall to just below 1.60 children per woman in the short term, before gradually rising to a long-term level of 1.76.

Read more at Statistics Norway (SSB)

Family relations from the child's point of view


The statistics describe family relations from the child's point of view; whether the child lives with siblings and married parents, cohabiting parents or single parents.

Read more at Statistics Norway (SSB)

Major challenges await Greenland’s new minister for gender equality


Greenland has a new gender equality minister after this spring’s early election, and the gender equality issues have been transferred to a new ministry.

Read more at Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK)

PRIO GPS Centre representatives attend annual consortium meeting of Gender/Women, Peace and Security Centres


During the meeting, the participants discussed the upcoming 20th anniversary for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in 2020, among other issues related to WPS.

Read more at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Nordic gender maps!


To illustrate the living conditions of men and women in the Nordics, NIKK has together with Nordregio, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ institute for regional research, developed maps that show the availability of education, work and care at the municipal level.

Read more at Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK)

Fertility declined to record low


A total of 56 600 children were born in 2017, 2 300 fewer than 2016. This gives a total fertility rate (TRF) for women of 1.62. This is the lowest level ever registered.

Read more at Statistics Norway

New study on the impact of child care for toddlers on the labor supply of mothers and fathers


This study indicate that child care for toddlers has caused an increase in the labor supply of mothers, lending some support to the argument that parts of the cost of child care is offset by increased taxes.

Read more at Statistics Norway

Twice as many boys as girls start school late


More boys than girls begin school a year late and more girls than boys begin a year early. But researchers are not certain whether maturity is the explanation.

Read more at Kilden genderresearch.no

Talk of equality is risky business for career in the oil industry


White men dominate leader positions in the Norwegian petroleum industry. If you’re a woman and want to climb the career ladder, you need to keep your mouth shut when there’s talk of gender and equality, according to researchers.

Read more at Kilden genderresearch.no

Prime Minister Erna Solberg addresses gender equality at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos


"The gap in economic and political power between women and men is a paradox. We know that women’s participation drives economic growth and Development," Solberg said.

Read more at Office of the prime minister

Closing the gender pay gap in Iceland


Iceland has launched innovative initiatives to close the gender pay gap. Are these relevant for the Norwegian debate on equal pay as well? In a new project, CORE - Centre for Research on Gender Equality will assess this question.

Read more at CORE - Centre for Research on Gender Equality

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide opened the high level dialogue on equality and education


"I also would like to commend you for your work to broaden AU's policy on education for Girls," Søreide said in her speech.


Read more at Ministry of foreign affairs

Norwegian Government calls on aid sector to intensify efforts to prevent sexual exploitation


Minister of Foreign Affairs Søreide and Minister of International Development Astrup are urging all partner organisations that receive funding from Norway to intensify their efforts to prevent sexual harassment, violence and abuse committed by employees in the aid sector.

Read more at Ministry of foreign affairs

Norway emphasising girls' opportunities when engaging in Global Partnership for Education


"Together we will continue our efforts to ensure that all children and young people have access to education, especially girls who are still being excluded," said Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup.

Read more at Ministry of foreign affairs

Gender analysis and gender budgeting: tools for economic development


The state budget is an immensely powerful instrument. We should use it actively to promote gender equality. Speech by State Secretary Kjell Erik Øie, Ministry of Children and Equality Stockholm 8-9 June 2006.

Read more at goverment.no