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CII WomeNation Summit

Consul General of Norway, H.E. Ms. Ann Ollestad was welcomed as guest speaker at the CII WomeNation Summit – Inspire for action to throw some light on how the Nordic is working the balance. She highlighted the importance of women returning to work after maternity leave and support system such as good quality kindergarten, the importance of fathers inclusion and work flexibility.

Norway has promoted gender equality and female leadership in such a way that Norway tops most international rankings and are among the top of OECD countries. Ms. Ollestad addressed work flexibility, diversity, inclusion and parental benefits as some of the key success factors for Norway's development. In the case of Norway, economic growth is not only about oil and fish, but the ability to utilize and implement the full work force. The labour force participation rate for women has risen from 44 % in the 1970 to 67 % today.  

Norway has one of the most “generous” parental leave schemes of 49 weeks. Ten of those are allocated to the father exclusively.  As gender equality is on the agenda across the world it’s positive to see the passage of the 

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill in India which is a landmark judgment, as family obligations are often cited as the main obstacle to pursuing a career.  

The bill will benefit about 1.8 million women in India and promote the acceptability of female employment. India will add 110 million people to its labour force in the next 10 years, including youth and women.

As the first country in the world, the Norwegian Parliament passed legislation in 2003 demanding 40 % women on boards in all publicly owned companies and all publicly listed companies.

Governments can encourage and facilitate gender equality with good incentives and measures, but it is time for the business sector to step up. We hope experiences from the Nordic countries will inspire new solutions in other countries and contribute to a higher female participation in the workforce. 

This was the 2nd CII WomeNation: Inspire for Action organized by CII Indian Women Network (IWN). The two day summit featured rich discussions, motivational addresses by successful global and Indian women leaders and celebrated the achievements of women professionals in diverse field.

The Royal Norwegian Consulate General Mumbai will follow the dialogue and continue to share and support work and collaborations in this field.