Enhancing labour opportunities for women in the Nordic countries

About the project

The general objective of the project is to provide better and more suitable employment for immigrant women by:

  1. Identifying policies and practices that have been aimed for improved labor market integration for immigrant women in three small and medium-sized cities in Finland, Iceland and Sweden.

  2. Identifying and analyzing success factors and challenges in those policies and practices, based on the experiences by actors in charge of the labor market program/support, as well as on experiences by actors in charge of the labor market program/support, as well as on experiences by women who have taken part in them.

  3. Developing practical approaches that employers and companies can implement and identifying possibilities for networking between immigrant women, local public and private actors and employers.

New research from the University of Akureyri (Iceland) shows that immigrant women are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the labour market in Iceland. Many women occupy positions that do not fit with their level of education; despite having higher education-levels than men, 30% of immigrant women who took part in a survey in 2016 in Akureyri are in employment that does not suit their background, compared to 8% of Icelandic women. This difference has a direct impact on the income and immigrant women earn significantly less than Icelandic women, as they are in occupations that do not take their education into consideration.

These findings are similar to research from other European countries showing that ‘the labour force participation rates of third country migrant women are substantially lower than those of native-born women’, while underemployment is also more common among migrant women (Rubin et al, 2008).

In this project we therefore want to identify and share best practices between three Nordic countries in a comparative study. In that way we hope to be able to contribute to improve the situation for immigrant women in the labour market. This project is funded by the Nordic Gender Equality Fund.


Project Investigator: 

  • Markus Meckl, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Akureyri, Iceland

Project Managers:

  • Anna Karsldottír (Sweden)
  • Nafisa Yeasmin (Finland)

Research assistants:

  • Sandra Oliveira e Costa (Sweden)
  • Hjördis Sigurjónsdóttir (Sweden)
  • Liisa Perjo (Sweden)
  • Stéphanie Barillé (Iceland)