University of Gothenburg

Gender segregated labour market in the Nordic region

The Nordic countries' education systems and labour markets are highly segregated and divided by gender. Labour market sectors and educational specialisations such as electricity and energy, construction and engineering are dominated by men, while health and social care are dominated by women.

Gender segregation also has a vertical dimension, with women and men occupying different positions in professional hierarchies. Norms around technology, care and gender reinforce these divisions, as it is perceived as natural that women and men are suited to different areas.

Gender segregation and norms have consequences, including for the climate impact of households and the green transition. Studies have shown that climate action tends to have an overall positive impact on jobs, especially in male-dominated sectors such as energy, industry and agriculture, while the biggest negative impact on jobs is in the female-dominated service sector. The uneven distribution of unpaid care and domestic work also has implications for responsibility and commitment to the transition.

During the year, we disseminate results from processes on gendered educational choices and the gender-segregated labour market, related to secondary vocational education and training, the sustainable working life of the future and the discussion on 'green jobs'. Previous studies show, among other things, that many of the efforts made to counteract gender segregation in education and working life are aimed at getting individuals from the underrepresented group to choose differently. When technical skills are in particular demand for the green transition, the result is that it is women who are seen as needing to "change" to solve the problem of gender imbalance, rather than the need for change at system level. Segregation and gender norms make it more difficult to meet the range of challenges facing Nordic labour markets as a result of technological change, demographic development and regional differences, among other things.

The dissemination activities are carried out within, NIKK, Nordic Information on Gender, a cooperation body under the Council of Ministers, placed at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research.

We cooperate with
The Nordic Council, relevant sectors connected to the Council of Ministers, actors involved in projects from the Nordic Gender Equality Fund.