All boys and girls living in Norway have a right and an obligation to complete compulsory education. Young people, from 16 to 19 years, have a statutory right to three years of upper secondary education. Thus, the enrolment figures for girls and boys are more or less even.
At primary school level, teaching is typically a female occupation; however there are no sex differences among the school leaders. There were 26.2 % male teachers at this level at the end of 2007. At secondary school level the percentage of male teachers increase to 50.9, and male school leaders to 55.7 %. Furthermore, the gender balance is reversed in higher education, where teachers are generally more likely to be men than women, except among assistant professors and amanuensis.
Sex differences are clearly noticeable among students in higher education. There are now more women starting and completing higher education than men. 61 % of the students were female in 2008. However, young women and men stereotypically study different subjects, and Norway has one of the most gender segregated workforces in Europe.
Despite the increased numbers of women in higher education, there are remarkable gender differences at the level of academic positions. Men reign virtually supreme in the higher levels of academia. A number of measures have been initiated in order to deal with this gender imbalance, but the percentage of male professors has only decreased from 83 in 2005 to 81 % in 2008.
There is a greater balance in gender distribution at post-doctoral level and in relation to research fellowships. Historically, few women have completed doctorates, but this gap is shrinking significantly. In 2008 45 percent of all doctorates were completed by women.
Among immigrants in Norway, taken as a group, a larger percentage has a university or college education than in the population as a whole. There is great variation, however, in the levels of education of immigrant populations, determined by both country of origin and gender.
Last updated: June 18 2010