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Hands off our rightful wages

Gender wage disparity need increased attention in Norway.

ILLUSTRATION: Lukas Hauge Klemsdal
ILLUSTRATION: Lukas Hauge Klemsdal
Publisert Sist oppdatert

It shouldn’t be necessary for me to write this opinion piece in 2023 – but here I am.

International women’s day is about celebrating women’s achievements in society. But it is equally important that we elucidate certain issues that take away from said contributions on this day. 

In Norway we have come a long way in terms of gender equality after decades of struggle. This has ranked us third in the world on the gender gap index, but this is no reason to rest on our laurels. Only first place should be considered sufficient and there are still plenty of issues that need to be addressed. 

Norwegian law requires employers to determine the salary of women and men doing the same work, or work of equal value, on a gender-neutral criteria. Despite this, one of the most entrenched structural issues facing women in the workforce today is gender wage disparity.

Nature Human Behaviour recently published a study on within-job gender wage disparity in 15 countries, including Norway. Salary data from all Norwegian workers aged 35-55 was included in the study, and it reported that women’s wages were on average 8,6 percent lower than their male counterparts in the same job positions.

NRK writes in an article that earlier studies mainly concluded that the wage gap disparity in Norway was caused by male and female workers’ differing job choices. The new findings reveal a reality of systematic inequality in the work-sector. It stands as a glaring example of why the fight for equality for women must still go on.

Women opt for higher education at a greater rate than their male counterparts in Norway. The wage gap discrepancy essentially reveals that, even if women make themselves qualifiable for high paying positions, men are likely to earn more even though they are doing the same work.

This is unfair for the young women who are putting in hours of hard work and getting their degrees at our universities. These people should not be punished for getting higher education by being embezzled by their employers. How can we ask women, both financially through student loans, and with their time, to take higher education if the end result is not at least adequate and equal compensation for their work? 

Asking for adequate compensation for doing the same work as that of the opposite gender should really be considered asking for the bare minimum. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.

And to those discriminating women salary-wise: Keep your hands off our rightful wages!

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