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The best EU countries for workplace gender equality

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Two women at workplace having a meeting next to a computer screen.
The decade between 2012 and 2022, saw the gender pay gap fell by 3.7 percentage points in the EU

A new study has revealed that Finland is the best country in the EU for women in the workplace.

Personal finance experts Finansvalp analysed Eurostat data on seats held by women in national parliaments, women in senior management positions, and the 2022 median net income by gender in the 27 EU member countries. Each country was given a gender-equality score out of 50 and ranked from worst to best.  

Finland topped the study as the best country for gender equality in the workplace. The country ranked above every other destination due to a high percentage of women in senior roles nationwide. Women make up 72.4% of seats in the national government, the highest percentage of any country in the EU. Finland also placed second for the share of women in seats at national parliament with 46%. Despite a high volume of women taking on senior positions in the country, the gender pay gap still seems to be an issue in Finland. The median net income for men in 2022 sat at €27,353, while women earned 6.04% less on average with €25,719. 

“I am extremely pleased with the equality we have in Finland. Finns are pragmatic. They place high value on autonomy and task-oriented work relationships. I consider myself fortunate to be part of one of the most supportive organizations to work for in the country. I feel genuinely fortunate to be talking with Professors of both genders that do not look down on me even though I don’t share their academic credentials, and who support me in my work,” says Katja Longhurst, Communications Manager for the 6G Flagship at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Finland, rated as the happiest country in the world for six years in a row, may top the list for gender equality in the workplace, with a high percentage of women employed as decision-makers in the government sector. But it is not yet a plain sailing road. According to a report published by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in 2022, and updated last December, the pay gap between women and men has decreased slowly in Finland, with the average earnings of women being 84% of the amount earned by men throughout the labour market in 2022.

“My personal experience has been that young men, just recently onboarded, are more easily offered advancement opportunities. This is what happened to me in a company I worked previously. Of course it felt like my university degree and quite a bit of more working experience didn’t weigh against the young whipper snapper. But then again, the same happened to a young woman whose career within the company rocketed. So, perhaps me noticing the young man getting ahead and not until much later the woman getting ahead was a gender bias on my part. All in all, it’s a matter of being a competent, trusted face in the right place at the right time. It also helps to be very extroverted and verbally agile,” says Longhurst.

Portugal was the only EU nation where female workers earned more than men on average in 2022 | Photo: Paulo Evangelista

Portugal fell just short of Finland, ranking second for gender equality in the workplace. In 2022, the median net income in Portugal was higher for women than men, positioning the country as the only EU nation where female workers earn more on average. Women took home a median net income of €11,038, 0.53% more than the median wage of €10,979 for men. While annual earnings propelled Portugal near the top of the study, the country had the sixth lowest share of female executives, with women counting for only 16.9% of executives at Portugal’s largest publicly listed companies. 

France claimed third spot on the study of the EU countries with the most gender-equal workplaces. The country rated high for gender equality thanks to a large percentage of women in leadership roles in some of its biggest publicly listed companies. Women made up 46.1% of board members at these major corporations, the highest percentage of any EU country. One of every four executives at the same companies are women (29%), second only behind Lithuania.  

Sweden placed fourth on the study for gender equality in the workplace. The country is home to the most gender-equal parliament in the EU. Approximately 46.6% of seats in the national parliament are held by females, more than any other nation. Sweden also has the fourth-highest percentage of female executives at the country’s large public organisations, with women representing 28.6% of all executives.  

The Netherlands rounded out the top five EU countries for women in employment. The country ranked high for female representation in the national government (53.6%) and national parliament (29%). While women make up a large proportion of seats at government and parliament level, men still tend to earn more on average in the Netherlands. According to the 2022 median net income, men earn 5.28% more than women in the country.  

Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, and Lithuania filled out the top 10 EU countries with the most gender-equal workplaces. Spain and Germany rated high for female representation at government and parliament level, while Lithuania claimed 10th place on the study thanks to the highest share of female executives of any EU nation.  

The decade between 2012 and 2022, saw the gender pay gap fell by 3.7 percentage points in the EU, decreasing from 16.4 per cent to 12.7 per cent. However, according to a new report from the World Bank, the global gender gap is far wider than previously thought.

The 10th edition of the women, business and the law report, published on Monday, concluded that no country in the world currently affords women the same opportunities as men in the workforce.

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Event brings entrepreneurs together to talk the future of tech in the UK

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Spotify has assembled entrepreneurs and trailblazers for a series of thought-provoking conversations alongside a group of influencers, commentators, and policymakers. Dustee Jenkins, Chief Public Affairs Officer at Spotify, hosted the evening at the company’s HQ in London. To kick things off, Jenkins sat down with Brent Hoberman, who cofounded the online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com in 1998. “Primarily what is organic here [in the UK] is talent,” he noted. “There is a huge depth of talent. It’s one of the highest densities of top corporates: Those corporates actually educate and train talent, and a lot of that talent wants to work at startups. You’ve got talent, capital and skills.” Spotify’s Co-President and Chief Business Officer Alex Norström then sat down with venture capitalist Harry Stebbings, host of The Twenty Minute VC podcast. Harry launched the podcast as a teenager in 2015 and has since interviewed thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, and startup founders. The two unpacked how founders can overcome barriers to growth in today’s tech sector, and Harry asked Alex what he likes about London. “I’m impressed by the passion of London,” Alex replied. “I came here thinking I was going to get a lot of rain. I got vibrancy and dynamism, both culturally as well as in business.” The event also featured her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York – founder of BY-EQ and Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti - hosting a fireside chat with Priya Dogra, Former President of WarnerBros Discovery for EMEA, and Sakshi Chhabra Mittal, founder and CEO of Foodhak, a science-based meal delivery service. The three discussed the impact tech is having on mission-driven companies and strategies for designing businesses in the modern age, as well as how to bring more women into tech. Exceeding £1 trillion, the UK’s technology market is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world. The country has been an important piece of the Spotify puzzle since it launched in 2008. Nowadays as one of our biggest research and development hubs, it’s where the company experiment with some of its newest launches and products, including audiobooks in Premium, video-based learning courses, and, most recently, AI Playlist. Spotify’s success in the U.K. is due in large part to the country’s open, connected, and competitive economy.
Spotify has assembled entrepreneurs and trailblazers for a series of conversations in London

Spotify has assembled entrepreneurs and trailblazers for a series of thought-provoking conversations alongside a group of influencers, commentators, and policymakers. Dustee Jenkins, Chief Public Affairs Officer at Spotify, hosted the evening at the company’s HQ in London.

To kick things off, Jenkins sat down with Brent Hoberman, who cofounded the online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com in 1998.

“Primarily what is organic here [in the UK] is talent,” he noted. “There is a huge depth of talent. It’s one of the highest densities of top corporates: Those corporates actually educate and train talent, and a lot of that talent wants to work at startups. You’ve got talent, capital and skills.”

Spotify’s Co-President and Chief Business Officer Alex Norström then sat down with venture capitalist Harry Stebbings, host of The Twenty Minute VC podcast. Harry launched the podcast as a teenager in 2015 and has since interviewed thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, and startup founders. The two unpacked how founders can overcome barriers to growth in today’s tech sector, and Harry asked Alex what he likes about London.

“I’m impressed by the passion of London,” Alex replied. “I came here thinking I was going to get a lot of rain. I got vibrancy and dynamism, both culturally as well as in business.”

The event also featured her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York – founder of BY-EQ and Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti – hosting a fireside chat with Priya Dogra, Former President of WarnerBros Discovery for EMEA, and Sakshi Chhabra Mittal, founder and CEO of Foodhak, a science-based meal delivery service. The three discussed the impact tech is having on mission-driven companies and strategies for designing businesses in the modern age, as well as how to bring more women into tech.

Exceeding £1 trillion, the UK’s technology market is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world. The country has been an important piece of the Spotify puzzle since it launched in 2008. Nowadays as one of our biggest research and development hubs, it’s where the company experiment with some of its newest launches and products, including audiobooks in Premium, video-based learning courses, and, most recently, AI Playlist.

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What is credit invisibility and how can it affect your finances?

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A woman paying groceries with cash
Only paying in cash will make it difficult to build a credit history and may make you may be credit invisible

If you’ve never taken out a loan or owned a credit card, you may be credit invisible. This means that financial institutions have no records to show that you’ve borrowed money responsibly in the past, which lenders largely rely on to approve you for financial products.

Everybody starts off with invisible credit. However, it can affect you in more ways than one, so it’s important to seek ways to build your credit history as early as you can. Here, we look at some of the effects of credit invisibility on your finances, and offer a few tips to start becoming credit visible.

Access to financial products

Before being approved for any kind of financial product in which you borrow an amount of money, a lender will run a credit check to ensure you have a good credit history. Usually, they’ll be looking to see that you have a high credit score – this would prove that you’ve borrowed money responsibly in the past, and have been able to continuously keep up with repayment obligations.

When you have no credit history for lenders to look at, it can make it harder to qualify for financial products. Your lender will know that you have no prior experience managing borrowed money, and therefore can’t for certain know that you’ll pay any amount back that you borrow. This can be true of all kinds of borrowing options, such as credit cards and loans.

Low limits, high fees

Ultimately, everyone starts off with limited or invisible credit history. So, there will always be a restricted number of financial products available to those looking to borrow for the first time.

However, you may not be offered the best deal if you’re credit invisible. For example, you might be offered a lower limit on a credit card you apply for, or a smaller sum of money on a loan. Plus, you’re likely to face higher interest fees than those who have a visible credit history.

Stagnated progression

Most people will need to borrow money from a lender at some point or another. Usually this will be to pay for a big life expense – you may be buying a house with a mortgage, or purchasing a car on finance. Having limited access to credit options can make goals like these much harder to work towards and obtain. Unfortunately, this could have a knock on effect on your overall quality of life.

Limited access to financial products means that you’ll largely have to rely on your own savings to make any big purchases – this could set you back years when it comes to owning a property.

How can you become credit visible?

Luckily, credit invisibility impacting your quality of life in the long-term is a worst-case scenario. As long as you take a proactive approach towards your finances, you can easily remedy your credit invisibility.

There are plenty of simple steps you can take to become credit visible – you can get on the electoral roll, link your current account to a credit reference agency, or take out a monthly mobile phone contract. These tasks won’t necessarily prove that you can borrow money responsibly, but they’re a good place to start.

Next, you’ll want to look into credit options. Taking out a credit card or loan with a low limit and a high interest rate can seem like an unappealing option, but as long as you can cope with the financial responsibility, it’ll be worth it in the long run. By sticking to your limit and repayment commitments, you’ll prove to your lender that you are a responsible borrower. In turn, this will be reflected on your credit report, and your credit history will begin to take shape. Using such a product responsibly is likely to boost your credit score rather swiftly, which can qualify you for further credit options. You may even find that after a set period of time, your lender is willing to increase your limit and offer a lower rate of interest on your product.

Getting started

Keen to start building your credit history? Do plenty of research on the products available to you before making any long-term commitment. To ensure that you can keep up with the financial responsibility, create a detailed financial plan for the best results.

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Extreme tourism market to reach $91 Billion

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Extreme Tourism Market to Reach $91.0 Billion
Mountain climbing held the highest extreme tourism market share in 2022 | Photo: Connor Moynihan

A recent report published by Allied Market Research forecasts that the global extreme tourism market, valued at $24.2 billion in 2022, could reach $91.0 billion by 2032.

The growing influence of social media is a powerful force surging demand in the extreme tourism market, which attracts travellers those leaving their comfort zones to engage in activities that are considered high-risk, adventurous, or unconventional, such as skydiving, bungee jumping, and rock climbing. Thanks to platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, serving visuals and tutorials breathtaking adventures,

Travelers, inspired by visually appealing content on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, are actively seeking out thrilling experiences to share on their own social networks, driving a sense of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) among younger demographics, compelling them to actively participate in adrenaline-pumping activities to create their shareable moments.

By adventure type, the mountain climbing segment held the highest market share in 2022, accounting for more the two-fifths of the global extreme tourism market revenue and is estimated to maintain its leadership status throughout the forecast period. However, the skydiving segment is projected to manifest the highest CAGR of 15.2% from 2023 to 2032.

25 to 45 years is the age group holding the highest market share since 2022, according to the report, accounting for more than two-fifths of the global extreme tourism market revenue. The segment is estimated to maintain its leadership status throughout the forecast period. However, by 2032 it will be below 25 years segment that is projected to have the highest CAGR: 15.3%.

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