Children and family

Equal opportunity

How families choose to organise their lives and tasks is up to them. All the same, notions about equality and equal opportunity are incorporated into laws and rights that everyone living in Norway must comply with. No one living in Norway can ignore this. Equality is an important part of, for example, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, the Marriage Act, and the Inheritance Act.

One of the most important values in Norwegian society is equality between all people. This entails a belief that all people are inherently equal regardless of gender, age, ability, cultural background, ethnic original or sexual orientation. Society works to give everyone equal opportunities based on their abilities. Examples of this are special education offered by schools to students with varying disabilities and Norwegian language instruction for immigrants, the principle of equal pay for equal work, and so on.

Much has happened over the past few decades in terms of equality between the sexes. We have experienced a change in attitude towards men and women’s tasks and place, both in public life and home and family life.

Likestilling i arbeidslivet Likestilling i hjemmet

During the 1970s, women’s rights in society and the opportunities available to them in education and the labour market came into focus. There has been a strong increase in women’s labour force participation in Norway, and today almost as many women as men are in employment. We still have typical men’s and women’s jobs, however, and far more women than men work part-time. Roughly the same percentage of women and men take higher education, but most of them still choose traditionally male or female dominated occupations. More women choose an education in the fields of care and teaching, while men study technology and science. Even though women make up almost half the workforce, two out of three executives are still men.

In most families nowadays, especially young families, it is common for men and women to share household and child-raising chores, although women continue to spend more time on housework than men.


The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act

The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act was introduced to promote equality, women’s rights and prevent discrimination. The goal of the act is to give men and women equal opportunities to education, employment and cultural and professional development. The Act mandates that the government actively pursue this in all areas of social life.

It also instructs employers and business organisations to work towards achieving equality in the workplace and in organisational life. Differential treatment of men and women is not permitted, but a difference in treatment that promotes equality may be allowed.