Photo: Norway UN / Mariken B. Harbitz .Photo: Norway UN / Mariken B. Harbitz

Gender equality is smart economy

Last updated: 3/20/2014 // -Women and girls need to remember that we will not get anything unless we ask, State Secretary Julie Brodtkorb argued under an informal panel debate on gender and smart economy, hosted by Norway on Tuesday 18th.

Smart economy and gender equality were on the top of the agenda at the event “The Glass Ceiling: Cracked but unbroken” held at the charity bookstore Housing Works in Soho, which was filled to the brink with people eager to debate equity questions.

In the margin of the Commission on the Status of Women, with negotiations currently ongoing in the UN, Norway organized the debate in order to lift important equality questions out of the UN context and engage a broader spectrum of the media, civil society institutions, government representatives and the business community.

Photo: Norway UN / Mariken B. Harbitz .Photo: Norway UN / Mariken B. Harbitz

The panel consisted of State Secretary Brodtkorb from the Prime Minister’s Office in Norway, NYC Commissioner on Human Rights Patricia Gatling, and UN Women’s John Hendra, who all gave their views on why women hasn’t hammered through the glass ceiling yet.  

-We need female role models, stated Brodtkorb and got support from Gatling and Hendra. Both of the female panellists went through college and university, without having a single female professor or mentor. – All my mentors have been men, the Commissioner said, emphasizing that this was not necessarily a bad thing. – We can all learn a great deal from men on how they think, said Gatling.

Hendra reversed the question of women participating in the economy: -we should not ask how women can better contribute to their economies, but what economies can do for women.

-When a woman has a baby, her income drops 7-8 percent, when a man does it, it goes up the same amount, stated moderator Celeste Headlee from National Public Radio during the event, creating a Twitter storm amongst the audience. The NPR winning journalist was eager on bringing up women’s participation in economy on a broader level, with questions ranging from matter of ethinicity to questions of language and wording.

The Mission of Norway and the Norwegian Consulate General in New York hosted the event.

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