OECD urges adoption of Nordic-style family policies

15 May 18

Introducing Nordic-style ‘family-friendly’ policies can help countries to boost economic growth, according to the OECD.

Policies such as subsidised childcare, care for the elderly and paid parental leave have been associated with the increases in female employment, which has boosted growth by 10-20% over the past 50 years in Nordic countries.

Ángel Gurría, OECD secretary-general said that gender equality was both a fundamental human right and a key driver of inclusive growth.

He said: “Nordic countries have moved further along the path to gender equality than most other OECD countries.

“Closing the remaining gaps would drive further economic and social benefits but will require a renewed commitment.”

Nordic governments have increasingly invested in family-friendly policies over the past decades and employers and unions have made it possible for workers to opt for more “flexible and family-friendly working hours”, the OECD report said.

In these countries, gender gaps in employment are now the smallest in the OECD are at about 4 percentage points, compared to the OECD average of 12 percentage points.

Mothers are also more likely to in full-time jobs and couples tend to share paid and unpaid work more equally than in other OECD countries.

The OECD report analysed the impact of policies introduced by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to ensure both women and men can participate fully in the labour market.

However, gender inequalities are still present in the Nordic countries. Gender pay gaps range from 6% in Denmark to 18% in Finland. The OECD average is 14%.

Read our article on how gender budgeting can help advance quality while providing an economic boost.

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