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All hail the Nordic nations. A new study shows that Sweden, Norway, and Finland have the best gender equality in the workplace. The report, which measures female-to-male labor force participation and other factors, also found the "cost of motherhood" was nearly negligible in Italy, Spain, and Belgium.


President Barack Obama was on to something last week when, at the Nordic Leader’s Summit, he suggested that “we just put all these small countries in charge for a while.” He commended the Nordic nations for providing “opportunity for all people, through education, health care, and equal opportunity—including for women.” And a new ranking released Wednesday bears out that praise.


A report by job site Glassdoor and Llewellyn Consulting on 17 European countries and the United States ranked three Nordic nations—Sweden, Norway, and Finland—the best in terms of gender equality in the workplace. The study measures nations based on their female-to-male labor force participation, the share of managers who are women, and the gender gap in employment rates by education level, along with other factors.

Sweden, Norway, and Finland earned the accolade, in part, because they have nearly as many working women as working men, and women are well represented—relatively speaking, of course—in manager roles and on the boards of listed companies.

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Norway is the leader based on the share of board seats belonging to women—36%—which is likely due to the quota system it introduced in 2006. Finland and Sweden, along with France, recorded about 30% female representation on corporate boards. On the other end of the spectrum is Ireland, Portugal, and Greece, where the proportion is between 13% and 10%. In Estonia, women hold a measly 8% of board seats.

The report’s most interesting stat, meanwhile, is the “cost of motherhood” in each country, which measures how the gender pay gap changes when childbirth is factored in.

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On that front, women in Ireland have it bad, with their pay gap worsening 31 percentage points if they have a child. The “cost” of having a kid is nearly negligible in Italy, Spain, and Belgium, where it’s 3 points or less.

While the United States lands near the middle of the pack for workplace gender equality when all factors are considered, it’s fifth-worst when it comes to the cost of motherhood. The Glassdoor report attributes the penalty placed on working moms to “social and family structures” and childcare costs that are “high relative to earnings.” That latter point has become a hot-button issue in the on-going race for the White House after Hillary Clinton made reducing childcare costs a hallmark of her campaign. Last week, she vowed to cap families’ child care expenses to 10% of income. In most parts of the U.S., families spend more on childcare than they do on rent.

In Alberta, a province in Western Canada, wildfires have been doing their worst.  A state of emergency has been declared as more than 250 firefighters, with more on the way, work to contain the blaze.  Thousands have been evacuated from Fort McMurray and a region already suffering from the low cost of crude oil, has taken another hit. 


Oil production has virtually stopped while authorities have forced evacuations in the face of devastating wildfires. Production has fallen by more than a million barrels of oil per day since the threat of the fires started over a week ago.  The government is working on a plan to return displaced workers and their families to their homes, but this process could take weeks.  Low oil production is already affecting the economy and could affect the jobs of the oil workers.


Damages from the fires are expected to total in the billions.  A stipend will be paid to each of the more than 90,000 evacuees.  Along with hundreds of square miles of Canadian wildness, more than 2,400 homes and businesses have been lost to the Fort McMurray wildfire.  The wildfire's path is visible from space and satellite images show the destruction.  The property damage alone is estimated at 1 billion dollars. 


With oil production virtually ceased at this time, the oil companies are estimated to be losing close to 30 million dollars per day in revenue.  This figure is relatively low because of the current low price on crude oil.  Oil is Alberta's primary industry and the oil companies hope to be fully functional within just weeks of the fire being fully controlled.  

NEWS  |  OTC 2016: Sponsors Offer A Gateway to Career Advancement  |  Rigzone


As a general rule of thumb, in any business, relationships are vital – connecting with people and continuing to foster relationships as one progresses in their career can be significant as to how far a person goes in a company.


The bottom line: no worker can climb the ranks alone. Even the savviest of professionals had someone – whether they’re aware of it or not – who vouched for them and helped them become successful. While mentors will lend their time to guide workers in their career paths, a sponsor is the person who sticks their neck out for an employee they deem worthy of it. A sponsor is talking about a worker behind closed doors to the executives making the hiring decisions. A sponsor is an individual who is invaluable. 


Coming off the heels of a straightforward and spirited OTC panel discussion about the prevalence and need for more sponsorship of women in the energy sector, Pink Petro founder and CEO Katie Mehnert took a moment to continue the dialogue with Rigzone.


Check out the video to see what she had to say.

NEWS  |  OTC 2016: Sponsors Offer A Gateway to Career Advancement  |  Rigzone

Saudi Aramco, Wipro launch technology park for women - via Telecompaper


Saudi Aramco, Princess Nourah University (PNU) and Wipro Arabia, a subsidiary of Wipro, have inaugurated Saudi Arabia's first all women Business & Technology Park. The project is expected to create nearly 21,000 jobs for Saudi women over a period of ten years. The Women's Business Park (WBP) is a result of a joint venture between Princess Nourah University (PNU), the largest women's university in the world, and Wipro Arabia.


The Women's Business Park is envisioned to be the largest engineering drafting services, business process services and IT hub in the region for a number of industry sectors including Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Government, Healthcare, Telecom and Construction. Wipro joined the partnership because of its experience in managing talent and providing IT services to a multi-industry customer base.


The joint venture will be responsible for developing the park's facilities and infrastructure as well as training and employing up to 21,000 Saudi women.

If you're anything like me, your busy schedule keeps you from spending the time necessary to really watch and read what's going on in the country and the world.  Sitting down to catch up on the news is a luxury that you may not always have the time for.  With the Presidential election coming up in not too many months, making an informed choice is difficult!  Here is a quick lesson on the four leading candidates to help you get up to speed.


Hillary Clinton


The former First Lady may be the most well known candidate running.  Clinton has served as Secretary of State, a N.Y. Senator, and ran for the presidency in 2008.  Accusations of corruption have been made in the past against Clinton including charges of hiding emails while Secretary of State and for her campaign fund accepting foreign government donations.  Running for the Democratic nomination, Clinton opposes the Keystone pipeline as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.  She also is in favor of raising taxes on capital gains.


Ted Cruz


Prior to becoming a U.S. Senator from Texas in 2013, Ted Cruz worked as a lawyer and solicitor for the state.  He has had the honor of arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court.  Cruz caught the eye of the nation in the fall of 2013 by working to defund Obamacare. The 45 year old Southern Bapist is married with two children and was the first in the running to announce his presidential campaign.  Cruz is opposed to subsidizing ethanol and the Export-Import Bank.  He also proposes that states be able to have individual definitions of marriage.  The Republican is currently running second to Donald Trump.


Bernie Sanders


Democratic candidate for nomination Bernie Sanders is trailing behind Clinton in the polls.  Sanders served as a U.S. Senator from Vermont since 2007 and was a member of the House of Representatives for 16 years before that.  Sanders is known for championing liberal causes like expanding Social Security and opposing free trade.  He has described himself as a democratic socialist and is technically an Independent.  The oldest of the candidates at 75, he is also the only Jewish candidate.  Sanders fights for payroll increases, to make public college tuition-free, and to create a healthcare system for all citizens through Medicare.  He also wants to raise both corporate and estate income taxes.


Donald Trump


Currently leading the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination, Trump is one of the most well known figures in America. A successful businessman, Trump has neither been elected or appointed to a public service position, nor has he ever served in the military.  Every President of the United States had served in one of these three areas.  Trump previously supported universal healthcare and presents himself as anti-immigrant.  He is looking to reform tax brackets into four different percentages ranging from zero to 25, and will phase out all deductions with the exception of mortgage interest and charitable deductions.  Trump is supporting mental health treatment programs in response to the slew of mass gun tragedies.  He also has declared the desire to increase border crossing and temporary visa fees to fund the construction of a wall running the length of the Mexican border.


As Election Day draws ever nearer, we'll soon see who earns their party's support.  With the variety of backgrounds, experience, and positions, the 2016 Presidential election proves to be a fight to the very end!