Crawford® Highlights Female Leaders, Day Four
Norway: One of the Best Places to Live as a Working Mother
Editor’s note: Today’s blog is written by Charlotte von Krogh, Crawford’s Nordic regional director. Her article wraps up our four-day series that highlighted seven of Crawford & Company®’s female employees around the world and is in conjunction with International Women’s Day, which took place March 8.
By most comparative measures, Norway is said to be something very close to paradise. It is one of the most “equal” countries in the world. We have a welfare state that is the envy of social democrats everywhere.
With a small population of only five million and huge state income from natural resources, Norwegians have been fortunate with comprehensive social benefits for several decades, which again have supported the development of equality between men and women.
Law in Norway establishes rights and entitlements concerning parental leave and pay compensation. In developing the legal framework on parental leave, equality of opportunities has been a guiding principle, with a view to both promoting women’s labour market participation and encouraging men to spend more time at home taking care of their children.
Norway instituted paid paternity leave in the 19th century, and have moved on to pioneer a range of innovative ideas, including guaranteed rights to childcare, shared access to parental leave and cash payments for home-based care.
Norway grants the longest-paid paternity leave in the world, in addition to the mother’s 11 months. Most countries in Europe offer paid paternity leave, from two days in Spain to two weeks in France. Norway tops the list as the most family-friendly country with a full 12 weeks (4 weeks already introduced in 1993). These weeks cannot be transferred to the mother and are lost if the father does not use them.
What is the outcome of the above legislation within Crawford Norway?
We are probably one of the few Crawford® countries in the world with a majority of female employees. Out of a staff of 150, 90 employees are women. Over the past five years, on average eight Crawford babies have been born every year.
With a 10-to-12-month parental leave, we are able to benefit from a flexible workforce enabling balanced supply and demand. Nowadays, when fathers also take 12 weeks off, gender does not matter compared to getting education, skills, and experience right when recruiting new personnel. With years of experience, we have also recorded low turnover amongst our female employees, compensating for the total cost of maternity leave several times.
With flexible working and laptops on hand, Crawford Norway employees are a satisfied team of individuals.
An additional consequence of the Norwegian system is the availability of potential female managers. Within our Norwegian management team, we are seven women and men, where Operations, Finance, Compliance and Sales & Marketing are represented by women whilst HR, IT and Legal are represented by men. Finally and perhaps most importantly, the management team has no less than 25 children combined, emphasizing that it is indeed possible to achieve an optimal work/life balance also amongst female managers.
We know the Norwegian model cannot work in every country, but we hope it can inspire other countries to understand what is possible when you tip the balance and create gender equality.
We welcome your feedback on our International Women’s Day series. Please share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions for more blog posts.