January 18, 2019
Canadian psychology professor and online guru Jordan Peterson has often referenced the “Scandinavian paradox”, citing stark gender differences in “progressive” Nordic countries despite their commitment to equality. A recent Finnish study gives fuel to the embattled thinker’s standpoint, citing welfare state as one of the underlying reasons.
A fresh analysis called “Glass Ceiling Paradox” by Finnish think-tank EVA has addressed the issue of low proportion of female managers in Finland, despite the Nordic country potentially offering more equal opportunities compared to its less “feminist” peers.
In Finland, the proportion of women in senior positions is 32 per cent, which is below the OECD average, the report stressed. This is still a far cry from 44 per cent in Latvia, an OECD member state, which, unlike Finland and its fellow Nordic countries, seldom gets any praise for its gender equality.
“In Finland, the conditions should be better than in Latvia for women to advance to top positions,” Swedish-Kurdish economist Nima Sanandaji, one of the contributors to the analysis, told the Hufvudstadsbladet daily newspaper, citing the universal trend of women surpassing men when it comes to higher education, which is clearly manifested in Finland.
According to Sanandaji, men compensate for the lower level of education by having longer working hours. Men are thus over-represented in the top and bottom parts of the career pyramid, whereas women dominate the middle.
Sanandaji ascribed Nordic women progressing more slowly in their careers to generous contributions from the welfare state.
“It encourages women to stay out of work or work part-time, which is detrimental to their careers. On average, women work less than men and that is the main reason why ‘glass ceilings’ exist at all. The Nordic welfare policy…