Norwegian version of this page
Ongoing project

CORE Corporate Study (CCS)

Gender balance at the top of the business world: Obstacles and opportunities.

The project is part of CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality

Project period January 2020 - December 2021
Project employer Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
Project nr. 10444
Project leader Sigtona Halrynjo
Business men and women


CORE Corporate Study (CCS) is part of a larger research project that examines jobs and careers in different phases of life in 10 companies. The project examines preferences and ambitions, perceived opportunities and obstacles, as well as work and family-related experiences. The project is a part of the research center CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality.

Project background

Norway is ranked as one of the most equal countries in the world, with high female labor force participation and close gender balance in political decision-making forums. At the same time, the gender difference is significant at the top of the business community. Women make up 22 percent of the top management groups in Norway, and only 10 percent of the largest companies in Norway have a female CEO. Furthermore, women are strongly underrepresented in operational positions with responsibility for results.

Existing measures and programs to strengthen diversity and gender balance in companies are to a small extent research-based, and companies lack data to follow up the development in gender balance - and identify obstacles and opportunities.

Project Aim

CORE Corporate Study examines similarities and differences in women's and men's career preferences, perceived opportunities and limitations, as well as the importance of family situation and «ground crew» at home. The project also looks at how the Covid-19 situation, with digital work and home office, is experienced by women and men, and to what extent this situation affects the division of responsibilities at home, working hours, motivation and perceived career opportunities.

The study will also examine whether women and men meet double standards and unconscious favoritism in Norwegian companies.

The study will also provide knowledge about how employees at different levels experience measures that companies have initiated to increase equality and gender balance.

Project Approach

CORE business studies consists of a questionnaire survey with experimental studies and complementary qualitative interviews among employees from "entry level" to top management level in large Norwegian companies that represent a breadth of Norwegian business.

The study consists of three work packages:

  1. Questionnaire study to map patterns of perceived opportunities and limitations among women and men.
  2. Qualitative interviews to gain a deeper understanding of perceived opportunities, dilemmas and limitations for lack of gender balance at the top of the business community.
  3. Experimental study to investigate whether there is unconscious favoritism in Norwegian companies - and if so, along what dimensions.

The project is in collaboration with Equality Check.

CORE Corporate Study is funded by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

Research report and infographics


Sigtona Halrynjo PhD Senior Resarch Fellow +47 481 21 698 Send e-mail
Ragni Hege Kitterød Dr. polit. Research Professor +47 950 50 375 Send e-mail
Marte Mangset PhD Affiliated Researcher +47 991 65 659 Send e-mail
Øyvind Søraas Skorge PhD Senior Research Fellow +47 930 41 655 Send e-mail
Tags: Gender Equality
Published May 5, 2021 3:21 PM - Last modified June 21, 2022 2:00 PM