Reports 2015/26

Gender equality among Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents

This publication is in Norwegian only.

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The report describes immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents within education, employment and society from a gender and equality perspective. The purpose is to provide an overarching picture that enables us to consider the gender equality situation in various areas in context. Immigrants in Norway are a very diverse group. Country background, duration of residence and generation all have a major impact on how men and women align themselves in society. Perceptions, traditions and gender roles also change over time and generations.

The education system is an important social arena for ensuring inclusion and equality. This is where children and young people acquire language, knowledge, experience, expertise and attitudes that subsequently form the basis for their participation in the employment market and society in general.

The number of immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents in Norwegian classrooms and lecture halls continues to increase, however there are clear gender disparities. Girls attain better results in primary and lower secondary schools, and are also more likely to complete upper secondary school and attain an education than boys, regardless of immigrant background.

In higher education, Norwegian-born to immigrant parents are overrepresented in pharmacy, dentistry and medicine, and this particularly applies to women. Male immigrants more often choose nursing studies than other men, and it is more common for Norwegian-born women with immigrant parents than other women to study for a Bachelor's degree in natural sciences, vocational subjects and technical subjects. Among immigrants, women are in the majority among those with no education and lower secondary schooling only, and among those with a higher education.

Social mobility through education is extensive among immigrants, and especially among the children of immigrants. What impact does this have on their gateway to the employment market?

The share of employed persons is lower among persons with an immigrant background than in the general population. The employment rate is also higher among men than women for all age groups, regardless of immigrant background. The exception here is among Norwegian-born to immigrant parents aged 20-24 years and 25-29 years, where the employment rate is somewhat higher among women than men.

Women with an immigrant background are in the majority among those taking higher education today. What happens after graduation and after the young women have children? Two years after childbirth the employment rate is highest among women without an immigrant background. The percentage is lower among Norwegian-born women to immigrant parents and lowest among immigrant women. After five years, however, a significantly higher share of immigrant women are employed compared to after two years. The difference is not as apparent after five years among women without an immigrant background and Norwegian-born women – who initially have a higher employment rate after two years. Country background, education level and whether a woman was working in the year she had a child all have a major impact on employment after childbirth for all groups.

A prerequisite for a well-functioning and inclusive society is that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate on equal terms, such as being elected in organisations, on boards and in other platforms where power is exercised. In recent elections, the voter turnout for women with an immigrant background has been higher than for men, and turnout rates among young women have risen more than among young men. If this pattern continues, the gender disparities in voter turnout will increase in future elections. Among municipal council representatives with an immigrant background, the gender distribution is more even than among all representatives as a whole.

Immigrants are underrepresented on boards in business and in housing cooperatives. Women are strongly underrepresented in chair positions on boards both among the population as a whole and among immigrants, and are only represented as board members.

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