The Nordic countries are commonly associated with strong political commitment to gender equality. But the reality is more complex. Examining data for some 200 occupations over the period 1970-90, the authors find that one-third of all workers in Finland, Norway and Sweden would have to change occupation to eliminate occupational segregation by sex, which is substantially higher than that found in other OECD countries. Often working in female-dominated occupations or part-time employment, women are under-represented in senior positions and typically earn less than men. The underlying segregation impairs not only gender equality but also overall economic efficiency.