An employee of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and one of the world’s biggest investors, Norges Bank Investment Management(NBIM), is taking her employer to court in Oslo over allegations of gender discrimination, as reported by Reuters on April 12. Elisabeth Bull Daae, who heads the trading analytics division at NBIM, is seeking NOK16m (USD1.54m) in damages from the central bank unit. The case, the first of its kind for the fund, alleges that Bull Daae was paid less than male colleagues for 10 years, and was also asked to perform menial tasks by some male colleagues. The central bank denies the claims. The trial will feature testimony from high-profile witnesses including the fund’s CEO, its deputy CEO, its CIO and the central bank’s governor.
The case is being closely watched in Norway, where there is currently a national debate about gender equality and discrimination in the workplace. The sovereign wealth fund in question, officially known as the Government Pension Fund Global, is the world’s largest with assets worth over USD1.4tn. The fund has been an advocate for gender diversity and equality, pushing for at least 30% female representation on the boards of companies it invests in. A recent survey found that 51% of women in Norway had experienced gender-based discrimination or harassment at work, while 17% of men reported the same. The trial is expected to last for several weeks and will include testimony from a range of witnesses, with a verdict not expected until later in the year.