Women’s Day: Best EU Countries for Female Career Progression

Newly released research has identified the top European country for female career progression. Scandinavian nations, particularly Iceland, were found to be leaders in fostering female career advancement.

The study, conducted by Claims.co.uk, delved into gender gap data sourced from the World Economic Forum (WEF) to pinpoint the most progressive country for female employment. 46 European countries underwent a detailed review, receiving a total score out of 100 based on factors such as female income, representation of women in parliament, and opportunities for career advancement. 

Iceland leads as Europe’s best nation for female employees with a score of 86.49 out of 100, with its 190,000 female population earning approximately €40,500 annually twice that of Greece. The Althing, Iceland’s national parliament, consists of 47.6% women and for more than half of the last 50 years, Iceland has witnessed the leadership of female prime ministers and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir – the world’s first inaugural elected female president. Behind Albania, Iceland secures the second-highest position for wage equality and boasts the third-best ranking in the advancement of women to leadership roles across Europe.

Finland secures the second-best European ranking at 81.72 out of 100, featuring a parliamentary makeup with 45.50% women, half of whom hold ministerial roles. Over the past five decades, the country has seen 16 years of female leadership, including President Tarja Halonen‘s twelve-year tenure. Finland holds an average annual income of about €36,500 for women, surpasses men in employment rates at 74.1%, and has 13% of companies with women in top managerial positions. 

Norway, ranking third at 68.97 out of 100, offers a salary 35.6% higher than Finland at €49,500 annually, also earning a score of 5.69 out of 7 for female advancement to leadership roles. The Storting, Norway’s parliament, includes 45% women, with 38.8% holding ministerial positions. Over the past 50 years, Norway has seen 18 years of female leadership, led by Erna Solberg and Gro Harlem Brundtland. With nearly three-quarters of Norwegian women active in the labour market, the nation provides affordable childcare and safeguards employment rights.

Scoring 65.16 out of 100, Sweden holds fourth position, averaging a salary of €42,300 for the country’s 5.2 million female residents. With 46% of the Swedish parliament, Riksdag, being female, and 42.8% of these women holding ministerial positions, they also score high for wage equality. Also, 58.3% of tertiary education graduates are female, strict anti-harassment measures are in place, and the country holds the world’s highest percentage of self-identified feminists at 46%.

Albania ranks fifth with a score of 62.93 out of 100, leading European nations in wage equality despite a smaller average income of €10,100. There is 35.7% female representation in parliament, where 43.8% hold ministerial positions. The country also sees active female participation in the labour force (43.1%), high female presence in STEM graduates (46.7%), and high ownership in firms (16.9%).

Rounding out the top ten countries for women in the workforce are Switzerland at 62.57, Lithuania at 60.06, Ireland at 58.17, Denmark at 55.49, and Belgium at 54.78. 

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for Claims.co.uk said, “Scandinavian countries lead the charge in advancing women’s careers, highlighting a shift in workplace culture. The data shows that these countries are redefining the traditional role of women and reshape ongoing conversations in the workplace.”

“While celebrating their progress, it prompts reflection on persistent global challenges faced by women, including inequality, harassment, and pay gaps. Looking ahead, the next decade is optimistic, with the momentum from Scandinavia hopefully inspiring a global shift towards inclusive, diverse workplaces. The study underscores the need for collective efforts to ensure women worldwide benefit from equitable opportunities in the workplace.” 

The Best European Countries for Women’s Careers 

 

Rank 

Country 

Index Score  

1 

Iceland 

86.49 

2 

Finland 

81.72 

3 

Norway 

68.97 

4 

Sweden 

65.16 

5 

Albania 

62.93 

6 

Switzerland 

62.57 

7 

Lithuania 

60.06 

8 

Ireland 

58.17 

9 

Denmark 

55.49 

10 

Belgium 

54.78 

 

careerEU countriesfemaleIcelandprogressionscandinavianwomen's day
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